The Bolts and the Aces face off in a knockout setto at 7 p.m. Friday at the MOA Arena, determining who will grab the last ticket to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Eight.
The Bolts are on a high following their 95-91 upset of the San Miguel Beermen at the close of the elims Wednesday at the Big Dome.
For the Aces, one big source of hope was going through the same route in the last Philippine Cup and pulling through in an 88-81 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors in a do-or-die for No. 8 spot.
Coach Alex Compton and his Aces prevailed over coach Norman Black and his Bolts, 93-89, on June 9 at the Ynares Antipolo but then went on a nosedive, dropping their next five games.
Thus, the Aces finished the elims tied with the Bolts and the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters at 5-6. Phoenix bombed out of the playoff equation on a poor quotient.
“So we get to live another day to fight Alaska. It’s gonna be a tough game but at least we have a chance for the playoffs now,” said Black.
The Alaska-Meralco rematch will be an entirely different ballgame especially with both teams now playing with new imports.
In their elims face-off, the Aces were reinforced by Robert Christopher Daniels while the Bolts were with Gani Lawal.
In the KO match, taking the spotlight are Diamon Simpson and Delroy James.
James came up big against SMB’s five-star import Chris McCullough, delivering 34 big points, including his team’s last six points, to go with six assists and five rebounds as the Bolts lived to fight another game.
As crucial is the showdown among the locals.
Chris Newsome, Baser Amer, Cliff Hodge, Nico Salva and Ranidel de Ocampo are highly motivated but so are Alaska’s Chris Banchero, Jvee Casio, Vic Manuel, Sonny Thoss and Simon Enciso. Source: PBA.PH / (SB)