ALASKA may not be playing with the same defensive intensity it used to have during its runner-up finish in the Philippine Cup, but veteran slotman Sonny Thoss feels the Aces are slowly regaining their form in the Commissioner’s Cup.
The Aces won three of their last four games, including a 104-98 triumph over the Barangay Ginebra Kings to book a playoff ticket as the sixth seed.
“Slowly, we’re definitely improving from where we started off this conference, and it’s a good sign for us,” the 6-foot-7 Thoss told Spin.ph on Thursday.
But now that the Aces will be facing the defending champions Purefoods Star Hotshots in a best-of-three quarterfinal series, the stakes got higher.
“That’s (Purefoods Star) a tougher opponent. We know how good they are with the championship experience and everything so we need to be extra disciplined and come out more focused,” he added.
Thoss said he’s also getting back to game shape since missing the team’s first six games this conference to an injury on his right plantar fascia.
The Hotshots present a different challenge for the Aces, especially since import Denzel Bowles got deadlier with his medium-range jumpers.
The former PBA Best Import is also a solid defensive anchor for the Hotshots by averaging close to three blocks per contest.
But Thoss believes the Aces can get the job done by becoming more committed to playing solid team defense.
“We emphasized defense every time. And it worked out well (against Ginebra),” he said.
“The last few games, the defense has showed. Hopefully, it will carry on.”