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Aces, Texters eye easy wins

Games today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)

4:15 p.m. – Alaska vs Phoenix

7 p.m. – GlobalPort vs TNT KaTropa

MANILA, Philippines - Alaska Milk and TNT KaTropa hone up for the killer stretch of their respective PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaigns as they take on struggling rivals in Phoenix Petroleum and GlobalPort tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Aces tackle the Fuel Masters at 4:15 p.m. then the Texters tangle with the Batang Pier at 7 p.m. in the final Friday twinbill before the 2017 PBA All-Star Week that serves as a short breather for the ball clubs going into the last half of the single round elims.

Alaska and TNT are in the Top Four with identical 4-1 win-loss slates but they hope to build some momentum when they face elite rivals in the mid-season tourney.

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Jason Castro and his TNT teammates seek to sustain their winning ways before going through a grinding test against five formidable foes in Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beer, Star, Alaska and Rain or Shine.

After their game against Phoenix, Calvin Abueva and his Alaska pals, meanwhile, will have four tough assignments in their last five games –  Ginebra, TNT, San Miguel and Star.

Needless to say, the Aces and the Texters aren’t taking the Fuel Masters (2-4) and the Batang Pier (1-4) for granted.

“Phoenix is a better team than their record indicates,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.

“Jameel McKay is such an active, aggressive player who really uses his length to his advantage. And Cyrus (Baguio), RJ (Jazul), (Matt) Wright and JC (Intal) are all playmakers who can both score and create for their teammates. We will really have to be consistent in guarding them and keeping McKay from absolutely dominating the glass if we want to win this game,” Compton said.

Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia is challenging Baguio and Jazul to show their true worth against their former team.

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