PBA: Family affair as top-ranked Phoenix meets Alaska

Paul Lintag on Apr 06, 2019 11:09 PM
PBA: Family affair as top-ranked Phoenix meets Alaska
This family affair, with Phoenix holding a twice-to-beat edge, highlights Sunday’s set in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.

Blood is thicker than water, that’s how the saying goes right?

While they’re not actually sister teams, if there’s two franchises that come close to being true family, it’s Phoenix and Alaska.

Offensive style naturally vary because they have different pieces but both teams pretty much run the same system on defense. Phoenix and Alaska will press you until you give up.

Fuel Masters head coach Louie Alas and top assistant Topex Robinson came over to Phoenix from Alaska. When Aces star Calvin Abueva became disgruntled and needed a “fresh start,” Alaska sent him to Phoenix.

In more ways than one, Phoenix finding success over the past two conferences is proof that the Alaska system can still thrive in the PBA amidst the San Miguels, the Ginebras, and the Magnolias of the world winning all the championships.

Phoenix won a record eight games and was the no. 2 seed last conference. In the All-Filipino, the Fuel Masters topped that with nine wins and a no. 1 ranking.

But while the concept of family is pretty nice, once the ball is up, all that goodness goes away.

Once Alaska takes the court against the top-ranked Fuel Masters, it’s going to be all business.

“Parang second family ko na yan. That’s like my extended family over there,” Aces coach Alex Compton said of Phoenix just after his team needed an extra game just to make the playoffs as the no. 8 seed.

“But when the ball goes up, no one’s thinking of family,” he added.

Despite being an 8th seed, Alaska should provide a nice challenge for Phoenix.

However, the Fuel Masters are a different beast now. All the close games they lost last season, they won now.

Sure, one can argue that close games open things up for 50/50 balls but in the nine games that Phoenix won, and even in the two they narrowly lost, it was the Fuel Masters that controlled the endgame.

That’s the maturity they badly wanted and they got it now.

“Hindi kami nagpa-panic,” head coach Louie Alas said after one of their close wins in the All-Filipino.

“That’s the big thing for us, hindi na kami katulad ng dati,” he added.

This family affair, with Phoenix holding a twice-to-beat edge, highlights Sunday’s set in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.

Phoenix advances with a win while the Aces force another sudden death if they win a second straight knockout game.

 

Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8

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