Jul 20, 2021

Alaska, Magnolia gun for share of lead

ALASKA Aces and Magnolia Hotshots gun for a share of the lead in the 46th PBA Philippine Cup when they face off in the second game of a revised Wednesday schedule at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The Aces and Hotshots, who won their opening assignments against Blackwater (103-77) and Phoenix Super LPG (80-73), respectively, were originally supposed to play different opponents in Day 4 of the young season.

For Alaska, it should have been Terrafirma at 12:30 p.m. and for Magnolia, it's the TNT Tropang Giga at 6 p.m.

But due to health and safety protocols, the pro league postponed the two matches and instead pitted the Aces and the Hotshots in the tweaked schedule set for 6 p.m.

The challenge now for the protagonists is to quickly adjust to the new assignment.

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"It makes the game extra challenging because we prepared three days for Terrafirma," noted Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso.

"I know Magnolia is also on the same boat but for Alaska being a younger team, the challenge is greater on our end," he added.

Alaska is on a high after posting a 26-point triumph over the Bossing in the kickoff game of the season last Friday afternoon. This was the most lopsided opening-day result since the 1999 All-Filipino when Mobiline routed Tanduay, 90-64.

The Hotshots are also coming off a morale-booster last Saturday.

Coach Chito Victolero's wards got back at the Fuel Masters, the same crew that sent them packing in the quarterfinals last year, while showing a portent of things to come with Calvin Abueva in tow.

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Abueva, acquired in a trade with Phoenix, scored 26 and grabbed 10 rebounds in his debut for the Hotshots. (OL)