Momentum may be going Alaska’s way due to its 5-game winning streak, but coach Alex Compton is wary of San Miguel Beer due to its bench depth, high-scoring import and ability to dominate the game at any given time.
“It’s another tough challenge for us,” Compton told FOX Sports, whose Aces clash with the Beermen in the main game of the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It will be the first meeting between these 2 powerhouse squads since San Miguel Beer pulled off a historic Game 7 victory last January to capture its 2nd straight Philippine Cup championship.
Temporary import Shane Edwards has been superb while filling in for the injured Robert Dozier, averaging 27.6 points, 13.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.0 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.8 steals to help the Aces get off to a front-running 5-1 start.
On the other hand, Alaska forward Calvin Abueva was in beast mode in the team’s last 2 games with norms of 23 points, 11.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks in Alaska’s victories over Ginebra and GlobalPort to earn his 2nd Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week citation.
Compton said the Beermen are loaded at every position due to the presence of slotman June Mar Fajardo, playmakers Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross, along with shooter Marcio Lassiter.
Import Tyler Wilkerson can be a matchup problem, too he added.
“I don’t know if you can put Calvin on Wilkerson because of his size,” said Compton, who hopes to get a victory as a fitting birthday present on Wednesday when he turns 42.
The good news is, San Miguel coach Leo Austria plans to hold out the 6-foot-10 Fajardo due to swelling on his right knee.
Fajardo has skipped practice for the past days since hurting his right knee in a freak accident in the first half of San Miguel’s 105-108 loss to Rain or Shine last week.
Still, Compton said they’d rather prepare with Fajardo in mind.
“If you have the most dominant force in the league with June Mar and you surround him with scorers, like Alex Cabagnot is a great point guard, and Marcio is arguably the best shooter in the PBA today,” he said.
“And then you add an import, who can post up and shoot threes, so what do you do with that?”
The 6-foot-8 Wilkerson is a legitimate scoring threat with averages of 35.2 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.0 assists per contest.
The Beermen are currently at 3rd spot with their 3-2 record, behind the Aces and the Meralco Bolts (5-2). – By Richard Dy
Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava