ALASKA seeks to restore a semblance of order in the PBA as it collides with Rain or Shine in a Commissioner’s Cup duel on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
A look at the 12-team standings coming into the weekend will let you see the usual underachievers enjoying the view from the top half, while the perennial contenders occupying the lower half early into the midseason tournament.
A prime example is Meralco, which finished the Philippine Cup at the bottom, but is currently on top of the table as the Bolts are still undefeated in four outings.
“The bottom half is composed of teams that you, guys, usually pick to be at the top,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “So it’s a different start to the conference.”
Alaska and RoS, the protagonists in the 5:15 p.m. matchup, are among those teams as well as Tropang TNT, Star, Ginebra, and San Miguel Beer.
The Aces try to regain a bit of the norm as a victory against the Elasto Painters will get them above .500 with a 2-1 win-loss record and enable them to join the upper echelon, specifically in third spot.
Alaska is understandably in a slow start as it is coming off a heartbreaking finals series in the all-Filipino conference against the Beermen.
“This year wasn’t easy. It still isn’t,” Compton said. “But I’m grateful for the intestinal fortitude that our players have. They got up and they’re still fighting.”
Having an impressive replacement import definitely doesn’t hurt. Shane Edwards, filling in for injured Rob Dozier, has made an immediate impact as he put up 36 points and 20 boards in his first game, resulting in a 108-100 win over TNT last Wednesday.
Edwards’ E-Painters counterpart, Antoine Wright, though, tries to bounce back after a sluggish debut that saw the NBA veteran contribute just 16 points on 4-of-16 shooting and eight boards in 28 minutes in his team’s 103-92 loss to Ginebra last Sunday.
The defeat was the Painters’ second straight after the Yeng Guiao-mentored side started the conference with a victory.
TNT, the defending champion that’s still also groping for form with a 1-3 slate, takes on Phoenix (1-1), which is parading a new import in Kevinn Pinkney, in the first game at 3 o’clock.