Last Sunday, the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals played its third game. While most of the country may have been basking in the new glory attained by boxing Senator Manny Pacquiao, the first pairing among the eight seeded teams in the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs bracket went head to head at Smart Araneta Coliseum. On one side was the twice-to-beat and powerful TNT KaTropa; on the other, the Alaska Aces which beat the Meralco Bolts last Friday for the eighth seed. What had seemed to be a routine mop-up by Talk N Text, turned into a surprise upset by the Aces.
ABS-CBN News reports that the top-seeded TNT KaTropa ended up being humbled by the last-seeded Alaska Aces on July 21, in the inaugural game of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals. It was quite the shock pulled by the 8th seed playoff winners, who beat Meralco in overtime 108-103 last week on July 19 to get to the quarterfinals. Then yesterday they prevailed over Talk N Text, which needs only one win and must be beaten twice, with an even more lopsided final score of 108-72. This would constitute only the second loss for the KaTropa all throughout the conference.
While the Aces came into the court as the underdog team against the KaTropa, they did arrive fresh from their win over the Bolts, one that was helped secured by their import Diamon Simpson. Following up from his 23-rebound assistance last Friday, Simpson followed up with 19 this game, along with 15 points and 4 each for blocks and assists. Joining him in scoring are the likes of Jeron Teng with 15 points of his own, 14 each from Chris Banchero and Simon Enciso, and 13 from Vic Manuel. Carl Bryan Cruz getting pushed by TNT import Terence Jones led to flagrant foul penalty 1, more bad news for KaTropa.
Mark Dickel, a consultant for the Talk N Text KaTropa, dissected the loss of the team and offered the following factors. First, he cited the greater victory hunger on the part of the Alaska Aces which made their gameplay more intense. A second element, somewhat corroborated by Aces coach Alex Compton, was that the TNT shooters were not up to their usual percentages, which Dickel described as “whatever could go wrong went wrong.” He does not however hold anything against Alaska, adding that they deserved the win for their game.
The do-or-die match between TNT and Alaska will be this Wednesday, July 24. Until then, the KaTropa will have time to reflect on Sunday’s shortcomings, to be in better condition and mindscape for returning the favor and advancing to Semis.
Image courtesy of Inquirer Sports