UNBEATEN squads Alaska and San Miguel Beer dispute the solo lead when they collide on Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces won their first three matches by an average winning margin of 21 points while holding their opponents to just 78 points, the lowest so far in the conference.
But despite the impressive numbers to start the season, Alaska coach Alex Compton believes the 7 p.m. match against the Beermen will be a tougher test of will for his in-form team.
“San Miguel will be an incredibly tough game for us,” said Compton.
Compton noted that San Miguel’s solid frontline of reigning league MVP June Mar Fajardo and former MVP Arwind Santos is expected to give them a tough time in the paint.
“June Mar Fajardo is absolutely dominant. Arwind Santos, the MVP before June Mar is off to an incredible start,” said the Alaska mentor, whose team is fresh from a 105-64 spanking of Meralco last week.
But Alaska can still try to outhustle San Miguel in the paint.
Guys like Sonny Thoss (7.0 rebounds per game), Calvin Abueva (9.3 rpg) and Vic Manuel (7.3) can work their way against the San Miguel side whose two other big men, Doug Kramer (ankle sprain) and Rico Maierhofer (knee), remain doubtful due to injuries.
Both San Miguel back-up big men failed to play on Sunday, which forced San Miguel coach Leo Austria to rely more on Santos and Fajardo, who carried the Beermen past Barako Bull Energy, 103-89.
“We can beat any team kung masusunod ang game plan,” said Austria. “But we may not have enough time for Alaska. Extended minutes sina Arwind and June Mar (Fajardo) ngayon. Kung nandu’n sina Rico and Doug we have a good chance.”