WITH two dangerous teams up next for San Mig Coffee in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup beginning with Alaska on Friday, the Mixers had to make some sacrifices during the holidays when they held practice on Christmas Day no less.
And coach Tim Cone could only keep his fingers crossed the Mixers would be in razor-sharp form as they shoot for their first three-game win streak this season against the Aces in the main game of a Friday doubleheader at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Cone felt the Mixers are slowly rounding into form after a slow start as they won back-to-back games against Barako Bull (90-88) and Globalport (83-80) to improve their record to 3-5.
But against the Aces, Cone is expecting a tough matchup, especially against Alaska’s veteran core of Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, JV Casio and last season’s Rookie of the Year Calvin Abueva.
After Alaska, San Mig takes on Rain or Shine next.
“We’ve got two big opponents for us, Alaska and Rain or Shine, these are two teams that gave us problems so you’ve got to create something positive before you can get rolling,” said Cone.
“We’ve been taking baby steps. We got the win and another one. Hope we could get to a positive roll. I really hope we could create some momentum on us.”
The Mixers weren’t that fortunate during their first-round tussle with the Aces after suffering an 80-84 loss, which saw Thoss bully the Mixers’ frontline with 19 points and seven rebounds on the way to earning Best Player of the Game honors.
The upside is the re-emergence of superstar James Yap for the Mixers despite nursing an inflamed right elbow.
In San Mig’s last three games, the two-time league MVP is averaging 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds, and even hit the game-clinching three-point shot in the dying seconds of its game against Globalport to record the team’s first back-to-back wins of the season.
With the team’s once banged-up roster now healing up fast, especially with veterans PJ Simon and Joe Devance now back in the active roster after opening the season with injuries, the Mixers are hopeful they could sustain their winning streak.
On the other hand, Alaska has lost five of its last seven games, prompting coach Luigi Trillo to consider the San Mig match as a must-win for the reigning Commissioner’s Cup champion.
“That sense of urgency has to be now. The other teams like Petron and Ginebra, they can lower their guard because they are on top, but we just can’t,” Trillo insisted.