COACH Luigi Trillo hopes the two-week break can work wonders for Alaska’s struggling shooters as the defending champions try to make one big push for a playoff berth going to their last four games in the eliminations of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Trillo said the team needs its outside gunners to start making their shots in order to unclog the lane and allow big men Sonny Thoss, Gabby Espinas, and sophomore forward Calvin Abueva to do their thing inside.
“The problem is they (opponents) have been closing the lane, which is why the guys (outside shooters) need to start making shots,” Trillo shared to Spin.ph on Tuesday.
“But if the guys don’t find their range, then it will be difficult.”
The Aces’ usually reliable gunners have struggled to find their range during the team’s first five games this conference that saw the Aces limp to a 2-3 (win-loss) record.
Playmaker JV Casio is shooting just 29.3 percent from the field, the same with Cyrus Baguio (31.7 percent), RJ Jazul (34.3 percent), and veteran Dondon Hontiveros (21.9 percent).
Good thing Alaska snapped a two-game slump with an 88-78 win over Air21 on Monday.
Reigning Best Import Robert Dozier scattered 23 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and added four blocks for the reigning champions.
Thoss registered his first double-double of the conference with 14 points and 12 rebounds while holding down Asi Taulava to just 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting in the game.
Trillo is hopeful Thoss could get back his dominant mode inside the paint in order to complement the 6-foot-8 Dozier.
“Sonny Thoss means a lot to our organization. He kept Asi off the paint while he got three blocks and had tons of rebounds also against Air21,” explained the reigning PBA Coach of the Year.
The Aces won’t swing back into action until March 29 when they battle the San Miguel Beermen in the first out-of-town game of the conference in Binan, Laguna.