By Jonas Terrado
Games Sunday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. — Alaska vs Blackwater
6:45 p.m. — Ginebra vs Columbian
Alaska seeks to end a four-game skid and clinch a quarterfinals berth when it collides with Blackwater today in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces need to get back on winning track in the 4:30 p.m. encounter with the Elite in order to book a place in the quarters and avoid any complications with another setback.
Coach Alex Compton’s side has not won since June 9 when it defeated Meralco, 93-89, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Since then, Alaska has dropped to 4-6 after losses to Phoenix Pulse (78-76), San Miguel Beer (119-107), Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (118-106) and Rain or Shine (86-84).
Import Diamon Simpson, Chris Banchero and Vic Manuel are determined to end Alaska’s slump and clinch a playoff spot for the fifth straight conference.
Another Aces defeat is something Phoenix, Meralco and Columbian are hoping for to stay in contention.
Phoenix ended the eliminations at 4-7 following Friday’s 87-85 loss to NLEX at the Cuneta Astrodome while Meralco fell to 3-7 on the same day after a 93-92 setback to NorthPort.
Columbian plays Ginebra in the second game at 6:45 p.m., needing an upset to stay alive should Alaska absorb defeat.
The Dyip also have a 3-7 slate but won two of their last three outings to keep themselves in the hunt.
Import Lester Prosper, rookie CJ Perez and Rashawn McCarthy face a tall order as Columbian tries to beat Ginebra for the first time in franchise history.
Columbian has lost all 13 meetings against Ginebra since entering the league in the 2014-15 season.
Blackwater and Ginebra only need to win in order to gain favorable seedings in the quarters. Both teams share 6-4 slates at third.