ALL eyes are on Simon Enciso and RJ Jazul as Alaska and Phoenix face off in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Both playmakers are set to face their former teams for the first time after getting traded for each other in the offseason.
Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia believes Enciso will make a statement against his former team, the Fuel Masters.
The sophomore point guard is coming off a 14-point performance in the Aces’ 99-91 loss to Meralco two weeks ago after averaging just 5.3 points in his first four games.
“Knowing Simon, he will come out smoking,” Vanguardia said in a text message on the eve of the 4:15 p.m. matchup. “Hopefully I see the same fire in RJ and also with Cyrus (Baguio). I had a good talk with them both.”
Baguio, another former Alaska player, has been the missing link for the Fuel Masters in their last two games, norming just three points in the two losses after averaging 11 markers in his first four games.
The Fuel Masters are eager to snap the two-game skid and register their third win in seven games as they face a full-court-pressing Aces side that seeks to get back on track and win for the fifth time in six games.
“Our main concern is to earn the same respect as Alaska gets when they play pressure defense,” Vanguardia said. “We are giving up too many free throws this conference.”
“Alaska gets away with a lot of contact so we have to sell that more so we can get come calls,” he added.
TNT KaTropa, tied with Alaska at 4-1, aims for its fifth straight victory as it takes the court later at 7 o’clock against a GlobalPort side that’s coming off its first win of the tournament, an 85-82 decision of NLEX that snapped a four-game losing streak.