Alaska gets another acid test on Saturday when it goes for a fourth consecutive victory against San Miguel Beer in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The Aces try to extend their winning run against the defending five-time champion Beermen at 6:45 p.m., two nights after handing the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters their first loss of the season with an 89-88 victory.
NorthPort and Terrafirma hope to finally end their slide as they meet at 4 p.m. in a battle of two winless teams inside the bubble.
Coach Jeffrey Cariaso has made Alaska a team that can’t be taken for granted after bouncing back from losses to TNT and Meralco to open the bubble tournament.
They pulled off their biggest win yet Thursday, rallying from a 75-68 deficit midway in the fourth behind the heroics of Vic Manuel, who poured in a season-high 18 points.
Manuel, who is slowly trying to get his shape back, drained 10 in the final minutes that gave the Aces a pair of five-point leads.
But the Aces had survived the Elasto Painters’ last stand as Rey Nambatac missed a layup in the final seconds.
SMB will be a tough cookie to crumble for Alaska even if it is dealing with inconsistency and injuries since the bubble began.
The Beermen finally won a game inside the bubble after a 105-98 defeat of the Terrafirma Dyip last Monday even without Terrence Romeo, who is out for the season due to a dislocated shoulder suffered against TNT Tropang Giga.
Romeo’s absence has put SMB’s title chances more difficult, especially with June Mar Fajardo still out as he continues to recover from an injured shin.