FRIENDS turn to foes as some Gilas Pilipinas standouts return to play for their respective mother clubs when Alaska and Talk ‘N Text face off on Friday night in their PBA Philippine Cup debut at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. between the two teams with the most representatives in the national team that finished runner-up in the recent Fiba Asia Championship.
Calvin Abueva, Dondon Hontiveros, and Sonny Thoss banner the Aces against the Tropang Texters, led by Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser as well as national team reserves and top rookies Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario.
For their part, Aces coach Alex Compton and Texters counterpart Jong Uichico, national coach Tab Baldwin’s top two deputies, sit on opposite benches this time. Texters' assistant Josh Reyes was also part of Baldwin's staff as scout.
Both coaches confirmed their Gilas boys will suit up despite having only a few practices with their squads.
Compton played down their matchup against the Texters’ Nationals.
“That is just part of the job,” the American mentor told Spin.ph on Thursday. “Personally, I am not motivated by our opponents or demotivated by our opponents. I believe the challenge is always in trying to bring your highest level of basketball no matter who you are playing.”
“In the PBA, you have so many friends that are on other teams,” he added. “So you can’t look at the people you play against be the reason you play hard or well. I believe it is an internal issue.”
Uichico echoed Compton’s sentiment.
“We should follow their example of being united for flag and country and will remain friendly competitors after that.”
NLEX, which has one Gilas representative in Asi Taulava, takes on Blackwater in the curtain-raiser at 4:15 p.m.