SHOCKED by its stinging setback to Air21, league-leader Alaska tries to get back on its winning ways when it faces tailender Globalport in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces (6-2) are coming off just their second loss in eight games in the mid-season conference - a 68-74 loss to the Express in a game where they played without top playmaker JV Casio due to a knee injury.
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said they are not making Casio’s absence an excuse, but he expects the team's other point guards, RJ Jazul and Raffy Reyes, to rise to the occasion in the 4:15 p.m. game against the Batang Pier.
“For us, it takes a collective effort," said Trillo. "And it will be a challenge for my two other point guards RJ and Raffy to step up and grow.”
The pain on Casio's knee is caused by Patellofemural Pain Sydrome or PFSP, which according to medical websites is characterized by pain or discomfort seemingly originating from the contact of the posterior surface of the patella (back of the kneecap) with the femur (thigh bone).
Trillo said they are resting Casio while the Aces can afford to, hopefully to have him healthy in the playoffs.
“We’re looking at the big picture, which is why we didn’t play him (Casio). He’s been playing hurt since our last two games so he needs to rest because we need him fresh for the playoffs,” Trillo told Spin.ph.
Globalport is coming off a weeklong respite after bowing to Air21, 94-106, spoiling new import Walter Sharpe’s debut of 24 points and nine rebounds.
Trillo said the key to beating Globalport is shackling Solomon Mercado because he creates things for the Batang Pier every time he penetrates.
For Globalport, the biggest challenge is how to limit its turnovers, which has been the rookie team’s Achilles heel all season.
The Batang Pier’s four starters – Mercado, Gary David, Japeth Aguilar and Willie Miller - are averaging a combined 12 turnovers during the team’s first eight games.
Globalport is the second-most turnover-prone team this conference with 17.5, just a shade below defending champion San Mig Coffee’s 18.