Meralco’s Chris Newsome, left, and Bryan Faundo show grit on their defense against SMB’s Christian Standhardinger Wednesday. The Bolts hope to play as tough against the Aces.
Jun Mendoza
Aces, Bolts meet in do-or-die clash
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Not everyone gets a second or even third chance and so Alaska Milk and Meralco set out to make the most of theirs as they chase for the eighth and last berth to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals.

The Aces, who could have advanced outright had they won at least one of their last five elims games, and the Bolts, who earned a final crack at the quarters by toppling San Miguel in the last day of elims, 95-91, aim to stay in the mix in the mid-season tourney by taking the No. 8 spot at stake in tonight’s 7 p.m. rubbermatch at the MOA Arena.

“In my belief, one of the pillars of things that we build on is honor the game. If you got a chance, you honor it and you play hard,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.

 “We got a chance. So it might be a small chance, it might not be a big chance, but you got a chance. You got to leave it out there. We still have a sliver of a thread of hope and we’re going to fight for that and as long as there’s life left, we’re going to honor the game,” he added.

Meralco pretty much carries the same motivation in the rubbermatch, where a tantalizing showdown with top seed and twice-to-beat TNT KaTropa awaits in the next phase.

“I can only state the obvious for both teams, which is a win or go home (situation),” said Meralco coach Norman Black, whose team is on its second do-or-die in three nights.

Black said the Aces, who ended the elims on a five-game skid, will come into the you-or-me duel fresher, having last seen action July 14.

“We will have to bring a high energy level against a well-rested Alaska team,” said the Bolts coach.

Except for TNT’s next opponent, the quarterfinal picture is set.

Second seed NorthPort (9-2 in the elims) is paired with the Beermen, which slid to seventh after getting the lowest quotient among three teams with 5-6 marks. The Batang Pier enjoy the win-once quarters incentive in this matchup.

No. 3 Blackwater (7-4) is up against No. 6 ROS (5-6) in a best-of-three series while fourth-ranked defending champion Barangay Ginebra (7-4) is pitted against Magnolia (5-6) in a similar race-to-two affair.

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