(Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
6:30 p.m. – Alaska vs Meralco
Alaska is bracing for a tough challenge from Meralco tonight when they begin their own best-of-five semifinal series in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Though having made short work of playoff tormentor San Miguel Beermen in the quarterfinals, the Aces don’t see any advantage going into the 6:30 p.m. match, especially after seeing first hand how the Bolts came out of nowhere to claim the last semis berth.
Coach Alex Compton and his staff were impressed with what they saw Friday when the Bolts completed their stunning upset of the second-ranked Phoenix Fuel Masters, 108-103, in overtime at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Meralco overcame a 1-6 start in the tournament by winning six straight do-or-die matches, including the quarterfinal encounters with Phoenix.
The Aces, however, could be without of their key players as Chris Banchero is game-time decision after hurting his ankle in Wednesday’s 96-85 win over San Miguel.
Mike Harris, the frontrunner for the Best Import award, will hope to be in better shape after dealing with cramps in the quarters. He will up against an equally-talented reinforcement in Meralco’s Allen Durham.
Durham played superb in the knockout game against Phoenix by scoring 32 points, helping Meralco complete its comeback from 16 down in the second.
He got help from Baser Amer, whose inspiring performance aided by words of advice from former Meralco assistant Jimmy Alapag enabled him to score 26 points including clutch baskets in the crucial stretch.
Bolts coach Norman Black is also banking on Jared Dillinger to put up another gritty performance after being out of the eliminations with an injured quad, with Cliff Hodge out after hurting his back in the quarters.