(Mall of Asia Arena)
7 p.m. – Globalport vs Alaska
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5 p.m. – San Miguel Beer vs Rain or Shine
Questions as to whether Alaska and Globalport can keep their cool will be answered tonight when the two teams go for a 2-1 lead in their Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Both teams will be put under scrutiny in their 7 p.m. encounter, two days after tensions reached the boiling point in Game 2 when 13 technical fouls were called that began when Alaska’s Calvin Abueva bumped Globalport’s Anthony Semerad in the first quarter.
Also on the microscope will be PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa, who came under fire when he pointed at Alaska’s Dondon Hontiveros after joining the fray to play the role of pacifier.
Should the teams decide to just play basketball instead of extra-curricular activities, focus would shift back to a chess match between Alaska’s stingy defense and Globalport’s high-octane offense bannered by Slash Brothers Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle.
Momentum appears to have shifted in Alaska’s favor after holding Romeo to just two points in the second half.
Romeo, who was coming off a career-high 41 points in Globalport’s 107-93 win in the series opener, had 16 points in the first half before the Aces turned him into a non-factor.
The Aces also held the Batang Pier to just 27-of-77 (35%) from the field, including Romeo’s 8-of-19 and Stanley Pringle’s 9-of-17 as he scored 22 points with six turnovers.
The field goal Globalport had was far from its 38-of-80 (47%) in the series opener, with the 5-11 Romeo firing 12-of-21 from the perimeter, including 6-of-10 from the three-point territory.
Romeo was 4-of-10 in Game 2.
Alaska coach Alex Compton is banking on his team to sustain their defensive tenacity.
“We’re really slow in Game 1, and that’s not to take away from Globalport dominating us,” said Compton. “The story of the game is we had more defensive energy that’s why we won.”
Rebounding will also be crucial for Alaska after winning the battle 56-44 in the Game 2, 11 of which accounted to Abueva.
Despite the commotion, which started when Abueva bumped Semerad as he was trying to stand up and Jay Washington retaliated by shoving the former, Abueva and Hontiveros downplayed that Alaska gained some psychological advantage on Globalport.
“I don’t think so,” said Hontiveros. “We expect them to bounce back and we’ll be ready.”