ALASKA tries to capitalize on the huge momentum it gained from a one-sided Game One win as it shoots for a commanding 2-0 lead against Barangay Ginebra on Friday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Aces came out red-hot on both ends of the floor in the opener of the best-of-five title series and cruised to an 87-70 win over the Kings before a stunned crowd of 19,000 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska easily set the tone of the rout by racing to an early 14-0 start. The Aces then held the Kings to just six points in the opening quarter, which went down as the all-time lowest first quarter output in league history.
The six points by the Kings also ranked as the third all-time lowest output in any quarter in PBA Finals history.
Still, Alaska coach Luigi Trillo braces for a better prepared Kings to come out for their 7:30 p.m. encounter, especially with Ginebra trying to avoid going down 0-2 in the short series.
“They're run and gun and get energy from the crowd. We need to be tougher and stronger coming into Game Two, we can't let up,” said Trillo.
For Ginebra import Vernon Macklin, Game Two is an opportunity for him and the Kings to regain their bearings and come out stronger against a physical Alaska frontline.
“They had a strong start (in Game One). We should have bounced back earlier, but we have to keep focus and play hard,” said Macklin, who only had nine attempts for 16 points in Game One.
He did have nine offensive rebounds though, one less than Alaska’s total of 10.
But Macklin credited the Aces’ big men, particularly Sonny Thoss, Gabby Espinas, and counterpart Robert Dozier, for effectively clogging the paint for most of the time.
“We need to fix some things. And that’s (Alaska) the No. 1 defensive team in the league. They played as the No. 1 seed because they played great defense. But we have to figure out new ways to score,” he added.