Thursday, March 15, 2012



POST-eliminations play in the PBA Commissioner's Cup may still be a couple of weeks away. But expect the remaining games of the qualification round to carry on a playoffs-like atmosphere.

No less than B-Meg coach Tim Cone and Alaska counterpart Joel Banal believe so.

"At this point, no game is bigger than any other game. They are all big and you have to be prepared for each one," said Cone Thursday on the eve of his Llamados' collision with the Aces at the Cuneta Astrodome.

"From hereon in, it would be like it is already the playoffs," said Banal.

Those comments are understandable, really, considering the stakes.

B-Meg is on the hunt for a top two finish and an automatic semifinals berth, while Alaska has the same far-reaching goal but would be content just the same to fend off its chasers for a finish among the six teams which advance following the nine-game elims.

"You can't afford a let-down this late in the conference," noted Cone.

B-Meg is coming off back-to-back wins, the most recent a 109-93 thrashing of Ginebra last Sunday in a game which Cone thinks is the best one for the conference yet from his boys.

But Alaska is itself on a high following a come-from-behind 93-88 victory over Petron Blaze just two days ago.

The way the Aces managed to raze two early 12-point deficits, match the Boosters' physical game on both ends of the floor and hang on in the tight endgame gnaws at Cone.

"Alaska is playing great basketball and they have a nice combination of size and quickness," said Cone. "(It) should be an extremely tough game."

Banal is hoping his charges can display the same toughness they showed against the Boosters in
Friday's game since a win would set them up nicely going to their final elims game against Powerade next week.

For its part, B-Meg still has to tackle Rain or Shine next Wednesday and Powerade on March 25, three days before the elims wind up. (nc)