by Jonas Terrado
(Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
3 p.m. – NLEX vs Phoenix
5:15 p.m. – San Miguel vs Alaska
The San Miguel Beermen are eager to redeem themselves following a frustrating loss last Sunday when they face the free-falling Alaska Aces today in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
San Miguel resumes its quest for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, and not even the recent struggles of the Aces can make the Beermen treat the second game of the Petron Saturday Special set at 5:15 p.m. lightly, given the result they had the last time.
A flat start and failed comeback attempt forced San Miguel to absorb a 107-99 loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel six days earlier at the Mall of Asia Arena, prompting its team’s top defensive weapon Chris Ross to show his frustration.
Ross was livid when he was called for a foul on Ginebra import Justin Brownlee with San Miguel down five with less than two minutes left in the contest. The Philippine Cup Finals Most Valuable Player subsequently received a technical foul for arguing, thus ending the rally.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone had said afterwards that San Miguel “needed these losses once in a while because that gets them going.” Ross seems to agree, looking back at how the Beermen had risen from adversity in the past.
“It’s always good to win as many games as we can, no one wants to lose. But you learn a lot of things in a win and you learn a lot of things in a loss, and this is how you take it and how a team takes it,” said Ross.
“I know the type of guys we gave in the locker room, we’ve bounced back from losses before, we’ve started 10-1 and won a championship, we’ve been down in a series. I know the character of the guys we have and (import) Charles (Rhodes) is a good character guy also, and I got complete faith in my team that we’ll take this loss and learn from it and finish strong,” he added.
Struggling to regain their mean streak are the Aces, who have lost five straight after starting off with a 4-0 record in the midseason conference.
Two came after the tournament resumed from a week-long break in observance of the SEABA Championship, first last week against TNT KaTropa in Legazpi City, Albay followed by a heartbreaking 100-92 loss to the woeful NLEX Road Warriors, who previously lost 13 straight.
“We’re just having some breakdowns. A lot of breakdowns,” said Alaska import Cory Jefferson.
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