by Jonas Terrado
Games Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. – Phoenix vs Columbian
6:45 p.m. – Alaska vs Rain or Shine
Streaking Phoenix Pulse and skidding teams Alaska and Rain or Shine seek important victories that will help energize their quarterfinal aspirations in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Phoenix faces Columbian in the opener of the Petron Blaze Saturday Special at 4:30 p.m. before Alaska and Rain or Shine collide in the final game of the doubleheader at 6:45 p.m.
Thanks to back-to-back wins against NorthPort and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Phoenix has managed to overcome an early slump mainly caused by the absence of Calvin Abueva due to a league-imposed indefinite suspension.
The Fuel Masters of coach Louie Alas are currently in sixth place at 4-4 with a good chance of securing a place in the playoffs for the third consecutive conference.
PBA Press Corps Player of the Week Matthew Wright and import Richard Howell have been the main reasons for Phoenix’s rise which they are out to continue against Columbian.
The Dyip are virtually out of playoff contention with a 2-7 record. Worse, they are expected to lose hardworking forward Jackson Corpuz for about three to four months due to an injured knee.
Meanwhile, Alaska and Rain or Shine could engage themselves in a dogfight as they aim to end their respective losing streak.
The Aces have dropped to 4-5 for seventh place after losing three straight games while the Elasto Painters are in eighth spot with a 3-5 slate due to two consecutive defeats.
Alaska coach Alex Compton is banking on returning import Diamon Simpson to provide better contributions in his second game since replacing inconsistent Chris Daniels.
Rain or Shine mentor Caloy Garcia urged his team to provide enough support for import Denzel Bowles, who has been forced to do the heavy lifting during the losses to NLEX and TNT KaTropa.