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PBA: Aces take on Kia

Games Today (Cuneta Astrodome)
4:15 p.m. – Kia vs Alaska
7 p.m. – Meralco vs Talk ‘N Text

That Kia Motors has as much chance of shocking Alaska today as Chris Algieri has of stunning Manny Pacquiao a few weeks from now may be hurtful to fans of both the Sorento and Algieri, but it’s hard to argue against the odds.

No scouting report is available to indicate otherwise when the Sorento, Pacquiao’s neophyte PBA ballclub, take on unbeaten leader Alaska at 4:15 p.m. in the Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome. Neither is there evidence present pointing to Algieri’s ability to whip the Filipino eight-division world champion in Macau on Nov. 23.

But both Kia and Algieri are welcome to try.

The Sorento have lost their last four games after spectacularly coming back to claim victory over fellow newcomer Blackwater during their PBA inaugural game last month at the 55,000-capacity Philippine Arena.

Pacquiao, Kia’s playing-coach, started at guard and played seven minutes before taking himself out to assume the dual role that two PBA legends he idolizes – Robert Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez – had played before.

He ultimately bid the PBA adieu as he prepares for his coming fight with Algieri, and the Sorento have never quite summoned the intensity they displayed when their heart-and-soul was in their midst, suffering two blowout out losses to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Rain or Shine, a thriller to Globalport and another lopsided contest to Talk ‘N Text.

Currently, they stand just outside the cellar door where within winless Barako Bull and Blackwater languish.

The Aces now come along.

With victories over the top guns – Purefoods, Talk ‘N Text, San Miguel Beer and Meralco, the last by a whooping 41 points – Alaska has displayed overwhelming strength that is virtually unmatchable for a team with no legitimate take-charge guys, dominant big men and competitive experience at the Aces’ level.

At best, this should be a fifth victory breeze for Alaska, especially once coach Alex Compton mercifully applies heavy defensive pressure to take the Sorento out of their misery early.

Kia can keep throwing punches, hoping to unsettle the Aces somewhat. But unlike in boxing where one hard straight to the chin could put an opponent away, the Sorento will need all of 48 minutes to set something up. And the Aces are not unfamiliar with precision counterpunching.

Meanwhile, Meralco faces Talk ‘N Text at 7 p.m., with the Bolts (3-1) looking to tie Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel at second place and the Tropang Texters (3-2) seeking to break from a fifth place jam with Rain or Shine and Globalport.

Meralco is coming off a 90-75 rout of NLEX, while TNT is fresh from an 85-62 romp of Kia Motors.

“It’s another big test for us going up against one of the most talented teams in the league,” said Bolts coach Norman Black. “Keys are limiting their penetrations to the basket but also at the same being able to close out their shooters.”

Black is familiar with all there is to know about the Tropang Texters as this marks the first time the Bolts mentor will be facing his former team, now handled by Jong Uichico following a coaching change within the MVP group during the off-season.