by Jonas Terrado
Games Today (Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
4:30 p.m. — NorthPort vs Alaska
7 p.m. — NLEX vs TNT KaTropa
Alaska shoots for its second straight win and the early lead when it goes up against debuting NorthPort today in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The Aces take on the Batang Pier at 4:30 p.m. as they aim to build on their 111-98 victory over the Columbian Dyip in the opener of the midseason tournament last Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coach Alex Compton says he is wary of NorthPort, which will be led by Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference runner-up Sean Anthony, Stanley Pringle, Mo Tautuaa and import Prince Ibeh.
Another thing that worries Compton is the health of guard Chris Banchero, who scored 20 points against Columbian but strained his calf during the second half.
“That’s why I’m kicking myself for playing Chris in such a long stretch (against Columbian) because Stanley Pringle, I think on most nights, is the single best player in the country,” Compton said.
“And Sean Anthony had an MVP-type conference. Mo Tautuaa was in the running for the Best Player of the Conference and (NorthPort) coach Pido (Jarencio) had so many good game plans last conference but lost on this break or that,” he added.
Alaska could once again miss Vic Manuel, who suffered a right calf injury last week.
Meanwhile, NLEX will parade Curtis Washington as import instead of Tony Mitchell for its 7 p.m. encounter with TNT KaTropa.
Washington, who last saw action for the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the ASEAN Basketball League, came in after Mitchell failed to arrive in Manila after a stint in Taiwan recently.
TNT will be paraded by NBA veteran Terrence Jones who formerly played for the Houston Rockets.