BARAKO Bull shoots for outright entry into the quarterfinals of the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup as it takes on Alaska in one of two games on Sunday closing the elimination round at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
A win by the Energy (5-8) in the 3 p.m. match will give them as well as Meralco safe passage into the playoffs while automatically ending the campaign of the struggling Aces.
Koy Banal, trusted deputy of Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos, said the Energy expect the Aces to come out firing from all cylinders, given the `no-tomorrow’ nature of the game for Alaska.
“Yung performance nila (Aces) in terms of wins and losses, medyo deceiving,” Banal said in taking note of Alaska’s 4-9 record this conference.
“Based on statistics kasi in Alaska’s last four games, mas maganda ang nilalaro nila despite their 1-3 record.”
Banal said the Energy expect the return to active duty of Calvin Abueva to fire up the Aces since last season’s Rookie of the Year remains a “game changer” for Alaska.
“I’m sure Calvin Abueva just wants to show to the PBA fans why he is the Rookie of the Year. We expect Calvin to come out strong lalo na since he missed Alaska’s last game against GlobalPort,” he added.
Abueva, who was slapped with a P13,000 fine for his scuffle with Meralco’s Jared Dillinger last week, vowed to give his all against Barako Bull, which defeated Alaska, 97-93 during their first round meeting on November 24.
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said beating Barako Bull requires total team effort owing to the presence of veteran players for the Energy who are capable of exploding any time.
“I think it’s important that we’re firing in all cylinders. We know it’s the playoffs so we want to bring it,” said Trillo.
“We want our inside game going well, we want our shooters ready, we want our transition ready. I believe we’re due for some wins with the way we’re playing. So it’s out there for us to get it.”