COACH Luigi Trillo expects a tough road ahead as Alaska begins its title-retention drive in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opposite Talk `N Text on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coming off a three-game sweep of a pocket tournament in Cebu, the Aces try to sustain the momentum against the Tropang Texters whom they battle at 8 p.m. in the main game of an opening day doubleheader.
Alaska actually ripped Talk 'N Text, 79-70 in the Queen City of the South, with the Aces using the tourney as the final step in the team’s preparation for its title defense.
“Talk 'N Text is tough. They are well coached, they have tons of veterans there,” said Trillo before the team's Tuesday practice.
“Every time we face them (Tropang Texters), it always comes down to the last possession. So it's one of those games that's really nice to watch.”
Robert Dozier, last season's Best Import, is returning for his second tour of duty for the Aces.
The 6-foot-8 Dozier would be pitting skills against Talk 'N Text counterpart Richard Howell, an NBA D-League veteran and a certified double-double machine while playing for the Idaho Stampede during the 2013-14 season.
Howell, who arrived nearly a month ago, averaged 18.0 points and 10.6 rebounds for the Stampede after logging in 34.6 minutes per contest.
“We are just looking forward of getting off to a good start in the conference against a tough team,” said Black, whose Tropang Texters failed in their four-peat drive in the Philippine Cup recently.
“This is an import conference so we need Richard Howell to be productive, especially on the defensive end.”
With a short nine-game elimination round format, Trillo said the Aces will try to get as many wins as possible.
“Obviously, we have a lot of work to do. But just seeing them here, I think they wanna be there in the Final Four because at the end of the day, we got our asses kicked last conference,” said the youthful Alaska mentor.