MOMENTUM suddenly shifting to its side, Alaska tries to pounce on San Mig Coffee when they square off in a sudden-death game Friday for a berth in the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals.
The Aces’ confidence have obviously skyrocketed after completing a come-from-behind 112-105 win Wednesday night in a quarterfinal match that saw them battle back from a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to turn the tables around and forge a winner-take-all match against the Mixers.
The do-or-die encounter is set at 7:15 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena, with the survivor advancing to the best-of-five semifinal series against Meralco.
The Bolts became the first team to march to the semis after routing Barako Bull in their own quarterfinal pairing.
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said the Mixers are beatable at this stage, drawing inspiration from eight-seeded Powerade Tigers, who pulled off a shocking quarterfinal win against no. 1 seed San Mig during the 2011 Philippine Cup playoffs.
The Tigers went on to advance to the Finals against Talk `N Text.
“Now’s the best time to play San Mig Coffee because you got back-to-back games, and it’s two games. It’s not like you have to win four times. They (Mixers) have been beaten before as the first seed when they got knocked out by Powerade, that’s fresh from our minds,” stressed Trillo.
Still, the young Alaska coach expects Friday’s game to be a no-holds-barred contest as both teams try to deliver a quick knockout punch in the hope of moving to next stage of the season-ending conference.
San Mig Coffee power forward Marc Pingris hopes game officials will be in control of the game and make sure the expected physicality won’t escalate into a fight.
“Fifty-fifty naman ang chance namin. Basta bantayan lang kami ng referees. Tama lang sana ang tawagan. Di ko naman sinasabi na pabor sila dun (Aces) or pabor sila sa amin,” said Pingris, who was limited to just three rebounds in 23 minutes on Wednesday owing to a foul-plagued stint.
“Basta bantayan lang kami dahil alam ko magiging physical ang laro sa next game. Baka mamaya mag-kasakitan uli at magka-suntukan. Pangit na`yun. Binibigay naman nila best nila at kami din,” added the national team mainstay, who served a two-game suspension late in the single-round eliminations following his involvement in a fight-marred contest against Globalport.