WHAT THIS GAME MEANS:
Gargantuan game for both teams.
Coming into this game, the Aces’ mentality would be like “Hey, we know we have an unblemished record but we know that we haven’t fully convinced people yet that we’re the realest team in the L right now.”. Yes, something like that. Alaska has had one of the easiest scheds and after beating TNT, now they have their work cut out again for them against San Mig. If they want to convince people that they’re really the best team in the league, then beating SMC would be a resounding eff you answer.
For San Mig Coffee, it’s about continually getting better with their new pieces. Yes, Bowles has been with them before, but this Mixers team looks different from the team he dragged to the finish line before even though the core is still intact. Denzel still has to get used to receiving the ball in the post from Mallari instead of Jonas Villanueva. He still has to familiarize where he has to be when Najorda takes his mid-rangers. That’s why this team can get a lot better and beating the best team in the L should be huge step forward.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Heat vs. Knicks of the 90’s
SMC and Alaska are two of the most methodical, kill-you-slowly type of teams in the league. They’re like the Heat and the Knicks of the 90’s. They’re mirror images of each other. Tim Cone is the master. He’s Pat Riley. Luigi Trillo is the protege. He’s Jeff Van Gundy. They both have entirely different line-ups playing with similar team roles.
Despite all the circumstances, I don’t get why the match-up isn’t hyped more as a rivalry game. It damn should be.
WHO TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Robert Dozier vs. Denzel Bowles
It’s always interesting to watch two of the three best imports (Balkman, Bowles, then Dozier — that’s the correct order) in the league outdo each other to get their respective teams the big fat W. But it should be more than that. This game should be like the first fight of the Pacquiao-Morales trilogy where the primary protagonists measured each other’s abilities and kept a note what to do different in the next time they meet.