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PBA: Alaska battles Beermen

Game Today (Alonte Sports Center, Binan, Laguna)
5 p.m. – Alaska vs SMB

Games Monday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5:45 p.m. – Globalport vs Rain or Shine
8 p.m. – San Mig Super Coffee vs Talk ’N Text

Manila, Philippines – Alaska has a 2-3 slate but despite that, San Miguel Beer coach Biboy Ravanes believes it doesn’t truly reflect the real strength of Alaska.

“They are the defending champions,” said Ravanes as they plotted their strategies against the Aces whom they take on today in the shortened conference of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Alonte Sports Center in Binan, Laguna.

The lone encounter between two former ‘grand slam’ champion teams in the Petron Saturday Special is scheduled at 5 p.m. with the Beermen going for a fourth straight win.

With a 4-1 record, the Beermen can advance to the playoff round if they beat the Aces.

But don’t expect the Aces to just roll over and give the game to the Beermen easily.

Alaska, for one, will come into the game fresh from a long break after beating Air21, 88-78, last March 17 that snapped its two-game skid.

In that game against the Express, Aces import Rob Dozier collected 23 points and nine rebounds, while center Sonny Thoss finished in double-double with 14 points and 12 boards.

Sophomore forward Calvin Abueva also did well as he came off the bench to add 13 points.

Alaska is currently tied with Rain or Shine for sixth to seventh spots in the team standings and that explains why they need to win the game very badly.

But to beat a powerhouse team like the Beermen, Dozier should double his effort in both ends. He’s currently averaging 21.6 points, 13.6 rebounds and 3.2 shot blocks per game.

San Miguel import Kevin Jones has been spectacular of late, averaging 31.5 points and 16.25 rebounds a game.
All eyes will be on the marquee match-up between San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo and Thoss.

With Fajardo slowly regaining his form after being slowed down by a sprained right ankle, Ravanes expects a fierce battle in the paint between his ward and Thoss.