ONE of the two teams on coach Alfrancis Chua's list as the best in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup will be the same opponent the Barangay Ginebra Kings will be meeting in the best-of-five Finals starting on Wednesday.
“Ever since naman before noong tinanong ninyo ako, I’ve always said ang pinakamalakas na teams ay Petron and Alaska,” Chua acknowledged moments after the Kings arranged their title showdown with the Aces following a 111-103 win over Talk `N Text in their fight for the second and last Finals berth.
Chua, in his second Finals stint since the 1999 All-Filipino conference while still calling the shots for Tanduay, referred to Alaska as a very "complete team."
“Kumpleto sila. From wing to point to big man,” he said.
The Aces, who finished as the No. 1 team after the eliminations before booting out former champion San Mig Coffee in their semifinals series, boast of a formidable starting unit composed of JV Casio, Cyrus Baguio, rookie sensation Calvin Abueva, big man Sonny Thoss, and top Best Import candidate Robert Dozier.
Off the bench, the Aces are also deep with guys such as Dondon Hontiveros, RJ Jazul, Gabby Espinas, Nic Belasco, Tony Dela Cruz, Samigue Eman, Paolo Bugia, Eddie Laure and rookies Raphy Reyes and Aldrech Ramos.
“Actually, isa sila sa may pinaka-malakas na sentro,” added Chua, referring to the 6-foot-7 Thoss and 6-foot-9 Eman.
With injuries to key players Mark Caguioa, Dylan Ababou, and Billy Mamaril, Chua is keeping his fingers crossed import Vernon Macklin will be in the best of health for the Finals.
“Hope Vernon is not hurting. Natuhod kasi siya sa hita,” Chua said of his prolific import, who had been at the receiving end of numerous physical plays by Talk `N Text during the semifinals series.
Otherwise with a healthy Macklin, Chua believes the Kings can give the top-seeded Aces a very good fight.
“Definitely, magandang laban ito.”