LUIGI Trillo believes the next two games of Alaska will more or less formalize its quest for the No. 1 seed heading to the playoffs of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Aces go up against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Friday in a battle between the top two teams of the tournament, before taking on the streaking Barangay Ginebra Kings on April 10.
“I think 10 will be the magic number though a lot of things will pan out. Of course, these next two games will be playoff-type games that could sort of prepare us for the playoffs,” Trillo told Spin.ph after the Aces’ early morning practice at the Fil-Oil Flying V Arena in San Juan on Monday.
Alaska took an 83-81 win over Rain or Shine during the two team’s first game for the conference, a victory made possible by Cyrus Baguio’s buzzer-beating shot off the glass. The two teams are currently tied at 8-3 for a share of the top spot.
Trillo expects Friday’s much-awaited clash with the Elasto Painters to be another tightly-fought contest especially with Rain or Shine also on a roll of late after winning its last three games, including the team’s Easter Sunday victory over Air21, 94-83 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“They (Elasto Painters) are a scrappy team because they come at you from different angles. They are very quick to the ball,” said Trillo of coach Yeng Guiao’s troops.
But the Alaska coach stressed one thing going well for the Aces at this point is the experience they gained during the Philippine Cup, where they pushed eventual champion Talk ‘N Text to six games in their semifinal series before losing.
“I think the Philippine Cup was a good foundation to build on then. We got a couple of guys who are passionate, plus we’ve got Robert Dozier. We rode on his back when Sonny Thoss got injured,” explained the 37-year-old Alaska mentor.
Thoss and possibly, playmaker JV Casio, will be available come Friday, according to Trillo.
“Sonny seems okay in practice. But he’ll play (on Friday). I also have a go signal to play JV, though at this point, we’ll see. We’ll take it as day-to-day till Friday,” he added.
Thoss missed the Aces’ 92-84 win over the Petron Blaze Boosters on Holy Wednesday due to back injury.
On the other hand, the 5-foot-10 Casio skipped his fourth straight game to rest his ailing knee.