#PBA2016 PHILIPPINE CUP PREVIEW: STAR HOTSHOTS vs ALASKA ACES - OLD RIVALS

STA and ALA are two of the most storied franchises in PBA history. They have had some memorable battles in the past and both have been coached by Tim Cone. Now, they find themselves on different planes as the Hotshots are struggling in the bottom half of the standings, while the Aces are at the top with a 4-1 slate.

The Hotshots took on the winless Bolts in their previous game and weren’t able to survive. STA had a chance to move up to 3-3, but instead they remain mired in the bottom half of the standings and are in danger of fighting for their quarterfinals lives. STA will certainly want to win here to get back on track as they’ve absorbed back-to-back losses already and they have SMB as their next opponent.


ALA was able to beat GLO in a shootout in their previous game. That was huge since the Aces bounced back from the Dubai loss to GIN, and it cemented their spot at the top of the league table. This should also give them more momentum heading into their last handful of games in the elims.

1. BIG GAME JAMES
- James Yap came to play against MER in their last game, pouring in a team-high 26 points to offset the heavy scoring of Gary David. The problem was he didn’t get much help from many of his other teammates. Still, if he puts up big numbers in this one, the Hotshots have a fair shot of getting the win.

Last game: 26pts, 6rebs, 1stl, 3 triples.
Stats: 16.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.2 triples per game.


2. YOUSEF TAHA: HOLDING HIS OWN
- Young big man Yousef Taha’s strong games have come few and far between, but his outing against the Bolts was pretty impressive. A near-double-double from him meant he was able to hold his own against the likes of Al-Hussaini, Hugnata, Hodge, and Nabong. He’ll have a much tougher time in this game against Sonny Thoss and Vic Manuel, but if the Fil-Palestinian can play solidly down low, it’ll be a big boost to the Hotshots. 

First 4 games: 2.3ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.5apg
Last game: 9pts, 12rebs, 2stls


3. STAR: BE CAREFUL WITH THE BALL
- The Hotshots’ turnovers were very problematic in their last game. They almost doubled up on the turnovers of the Bolts, they failed to put up a single point off a Meralco mistake. In this game against a team as efficient as ALA, the Hotshots can ill-afford to be so passive in terms of taking care of the basketball.

Last game TOs: MER 12, STA 23
Last game Pts off TOs: MER 16, STA 0


4. SKYRUS STRIKES!
- Cyrus Baguio had his first big game of the season in ALA’s win over GlobalPort. The Aces leaned on the veteran shooting guard throughout the match, as he was able to match the play of Gilas 3.0 stalwart Terrence Romeo. If Baguio can be consistent with that level of play, then the Aces have a strong shot to win this game and go far this conference. 

First 4 games: 6.0ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.0apg, 0.8 triples per game, 37.5 FG%
Last game: 17pts, 1reb, 2asts, 2 triples, 50.0 FG%


5. ALASKA: FRONTLINE POWER
- The trio of Vic Manuel, Sonny Thoss, and Eric Menk combined to give Alaska a lot of frontline power in their last game, and they will need to do that again here against the Hotshots, who have the size to be able to match up well with the Aces. All three guys had near-double-doubles in their last game, and it’s unrealistic to expect all of them to do that again here, but as long as these three are able to score around the basket and get those rebounds, the Aces should be fine.

Vic Manuel last game: 16pts, 8rebs, 3stls, 6/10 FGs
Sonny Thoss last game: 14pts, 8rebs, 3asts, 6/8 FGs
Eric Menk last game: 12pts, 7rebs, 1blk, 6/9 FGs


6. ALASKA: OPEN SEASON
- ALA’s last game was a scoring fiesta as eight Aces scored 10 or more points. It was truly open season on offense for the Aces, who also shot very well from the field at nearly 51% accuracy. Against a team like the Hotshots who seem to be struggling defensively, the Aces may yet continue their hot shooting. 

*8 guys scoring in double-digits: Baguio, Manuel, Banchero, Thoss, Jazul, Menk, Abueva, and Casio
Last game FG%: ALA 50.5%, GLO 40.9%


7. KEY MATCH-UP: BARROCA X CASIO
- Former Gilas teammates Mark Barroca and JV Casio meet again here with Casio coming off a great outing against GLO and Barroca sputtering against MER. Since the change in coaching, it seems like Barroca’s utility has dipped a little bit for STA, and that needs to change soon given how important he has been in the team’s success all these years. On the other end, Casio seems to have rediscovered his fine form after struggling for much of last season. If he can be on-target with his shooting and continue to get his teammates involved, he will be favored to outplay Barroca.  

Barroca last game: 3pts, 6rebs, 2asts, 1stl.
Casio last game: 10pts, 6rebs, 5asts, 2 triples.

Barroca stats: 8.8ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, 50.0 3pt%
Casio stats: 10.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.6apg, 1.4 triples per game, 31.8 3pt%


FOR MORE PHILIPPINE BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION ACTION, CHECK OUT THIS LINK

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @hoopnut 


LIKE OUR FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK, TOO! 


Previous
Next Post »
0 Comment