June 20, 2019

SMB hard-pressed to win against Alaska to stay in playoff contention

Both ending up on the losing end of a tough battle the last time out, San Miguel Beer and Alaska Milk clash in a recovery match in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome Friday.

The Beermen dropped a 107-110 loss in overtime to the Barangay Ginebra Kings Sunday while the Aces yielded a 76-78 squeaker to the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters Saturday.

Both look to spring back to a winning effort as they tangle at 7 p.m., with the Aces gunning for a fifth win against three losses and the Beermen eyeing a second win in five starts.

Needless to say, San Miguel is a side burdened with a more urgent business as the Beermen are outside the Top Eight nearing the midpoint of the single-round-robin elims.

But the Beermen are optimistic they would rediscover their winning ways sooner than later.

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Charles Rhodes is determined to lead the way after letting his team down on his early ouster on fouls against Justin Brownlee and the Gin Kings.

"I'll just go out and evaluate the game, and let's see how I can even do better," said Rhodes as he was about to leave the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday.

Until committing his sixth and final foul with 2:42 left in the extension play, Rhodes was in the zone, scoring 10 of his 34 points in the final period, including the basket that sent the game into OT.

Meanwhile, Alaska import sub Nino Johnson was a non-factor in his PBA debut, coming through with only six points and four rebounds.

The Aces are hoping Johnson can prove himself versus the Beermen.

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Chris Daniels, the original Alaska import, piled up averages of 20.2 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.0 blocks in his six games in the local pro league, helping the Aces to a 4-2 mark.

But even with the paltry numbers from Johnson, the Aces fought a good fight and just dropped the game on a missed three-pointer by Kevin Racal in the dying seconds.

The Aces hope to recover right away to stick close with joint pacesetters NorthPort (6-1) and TNT KaTropa (6-1).(SB)