Returning Alaska faces Ginebra; SMB, Magnolia jockey for position

Published September 17, 2021, 8:53 AM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from PBA

It will be Alaska’s turn to return from the league’s COVID-19 protocols as it battles a rejuvenated Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Friday, Sept. 17 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The Aces hope to gain ground in the quarterfinal race when they begin a grueling schedule against the Gin Kings at 6 p.m. in their first match since being placed under the league’s health and safety guidelines.

Coach Jeffrey Cariaso’s wards are also slated to take on the TNT Tropang Giga the following day and the Terrafirma Dyip on Sunday, Sept. 19.

Ginebra, which came off a morale-boosting 94-87 win over Phoenix Super LPG, is the first of back-to-back-to-back games for Alaska, which last played on Sept. 2 when it absorbed a 94-84 loss to NLEX.

Alaska was supposed to face San Miguel Beer two days later but their game was postponed before being put on the shelf due to COVID-19 guidelines.

Now back in action, the Aces aim to improve their 2-4 record for 10th overall beginning with the Gin Kings, whose conference has been a challenge.

But its victory against Phoenix, which came after erasing a 19-point deficit, could be the momentum Ginebra needs to boost its bid to retain the Philippine Cup and bag its third in a row since the 2019 Governors’ Cup.

Ginebra is currently in eighth spot at 4-5.

Magnolia Pambansang Manok and San Miguel Beer look to stay within distance of Meralco in the race for the other twice-to-beat advantage in the quarters when they face separate opponents as part of a tripleheader.

Magnolia battles NorthPort in the 12:30 p.m. opener before San Miguel meets Phoenix at 3 p.m.

The Hotshots sit in third position at 6-3 while the Beermen are in fourth at 5-3 after the two squads were defeated by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

ROS squeaked out 75-72 and 95-93 victories over Magnolia and SMB, respectively.

That allowed Meralco to stay in second while extending its hold on that spot after Wednesday’s 95-83 victory over Terrafirma for a 6-2 record, half-game above Magnolia and one off SMB.