Saturday, February 11, 2012



The triangle has been abandoned. A run-and-gun system has been put in place. The promise of a newtomorrow brings about refreshing possibilities. So what else is missing?

What about an import with the single-minded tenacity of Sean Chambers and the flamboyance and talent of Diamon Simpson.

After dropping their opening game in the PBA Philippine Cup to Barako Bull, 98-78, Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, the Alaska Aces may find themselves on the threshold of an important decision: Stick with import Adam Parada or bring in a new one?

Depending on today’s 4:15 p.m. game against Rain or Shine, also at the Big Dome, the Aces, who had their biggest success with Chambers and Simpson holding the fort during the Tim Cone era, face a forked road in their second conference campaign for redemption after finishing 3-11 last time out.

Parada played 37 minutes against the Energy and was stuck with 16 points and 15 rebounds, a
double-double performance that hardly mattered due to the sub-par play of three of their starters.

LA Tenorio played 36 minutes but went 0 for 5 from 3-point range for eight points; Sonny Thoss also sweated it out for 36 minutes but was 4 for 13 from the field for another eight; and Jay-R Reyes saw action in 25 minutes but was 2 for 10 for five points.

Barako Bull head coach Junel Baculi, in extolling the contribution of his import Demarr Johnson who had 19 points, could have been talking directly to the Aces trio: “Your import can only be good if your local players deliver.”

Joel Banal, the Aces coach, may want to hammer this concept to his players.

Against a drag-racing team like Rain or Shine, which could run over Alaska in transition or scuttle them from afar, the Aces will have bring something other their 1 for 12 shooting from beyond the arcand their 19 errors -- resulting in 22 Barako Bull points -- to the starting line or risk falling behind 0-2 in what Baculi aptly described as an elimination round that resembles a “sprint to thefinish.”

The Elasto Painters came within a few breaks going their way and a number of defensive adjustments on Powerade’s Gary David in the semifinals from advancing to the championship of the Philippine Cup against Talk ‘N Text.

Their lessons learned, they now parade a more experienced roster backed by import Willard Crews, who played for Tennessee and Bowie State in the NCAA and is listed at 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds.

Rookie point guard Paul Lee will be matching up with the veteran Tenorio – a UE-Ateneo duel – as
a sidelight although much of the focus will be on Parada taking on Crews.

Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao may be pleasantly surprised to see a mirror image of their offense during the game since the Aces have declared their desire to run and gun the way the Elasto Painters do.

It will also be reunion of sorts in the game -- although on opposite camps -- for Guiao and Parada, who were together at Red Bull back in 2008.

Guiao, who has a penchant for getting inside the head of opposing players, is not expected to playany mind tricks with his former import though, Parada having been well-exposed to his ex-coach's volatile nature and psychological strategies. (TST)