AFTER posting back-to-back wins to get back in the groove of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals, Alaska couldn’t have welcome back a much needed reinforcement in time for Game Six of the title series.
Pesky defensive guard Ping Exciminiano is due for a return in the Aces’ active roster after being given the clearance to play again following the sprain he suffered on his left knee.
The catalyst of Alaska’s noted pressure defense said he’s ready to suit up for Wednesday when the team tries to win a third consecutive game and forge a winner-take-all showdown with Rain or Shine.
“Anytime puwede na akong maglaro,” said the former Far Eastern University stalwart. “After MRI, yung result ok naman. Wala namang problema.”
Exciminiano hurt the knee in Game Three and didn’t get to play the next two matches. Prior to suffering the injury, he averaged 3.33 points and 1.3 rebounds in 11 minutes of play in the first three games of the title series.
The 27-year-old native of Olongapo said he was actually good to play last Sunday as he already managed to practice with the team. Coach Alex Compton though, opted not to utlilize him.
“Andun siguro yung kay coach na ayaw niya muna akong i-push,” he said when asked the reason why he wasn’t fielded in during Alaska’s 86-78 win.
In his absence, rookie Kevin Racal was inserted by Compton in the rotation and the big man out of Letran showed he belonged by averaging 6.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 26.5 minutes of play.
Incidentally, in the two times Racal played, the Aces both won, allowing them to cut the series deficit to 3-2 after losing the first three games of the finals.
Exciminiano has no problem if the trend will have Racal continuing to get some playing minutes, while he basically rides the bench.
“As long na nananalo ok lang,” he said. “Ready naman ako.”
'We Not Me' as Alaska’s famous mantra goes.