And so it was that three months, one choking incident gone viral and two do-or-die games later that we find ourselves at the final leg of this tumultuous Commissioner’s Cup conference. Those still standing start battling it out today, the 27th, in two separate best-of-five series to determine who will go head-to-head in the Finals.
But true to the theme of this conference, the semis promise to be dramatic. Top-seeded Alaska matches up against their former coach Tim Cone and the San Mig Coffee Mixers, against whom the Aces have lost all eight games to since Coach Tim left the Alaska Milk Corporation. Meanwhile Talk N’ Text busts out its veteran moves against a Ginebra San Miguel team gone vintage (by which I mean the Gin Kings have been pulling upsets that have fans frothing at the mouth in ecstasy—just like old times).
So there’s potential for a lot of drama to go down, not to mention a lot of physical play. Yay! Because as much as I don’t want to see PJ Simon lose teeth again, there’s nothing like a hard foul caught on slow-mo to get the blood rushing in even the most flippant of fans.
But before we start yelling at the refs, let’s take a closer look at the teams on hand.
(Disclaimer: I got art-happy. I found this crazy website that lets you customize Pokemon cards and I couldn’t help myself. I do not own the photos, symbols, and templates used. Please don’t sue me.)
If I had to pick three standout cards out of this deck—meaning the three people who are bound to make the difference for this team’s Finals bid—it would be:
Double Voltage. When in the zone, he provides the energy and momentum of two people, making it easy for him to draw the foul.
Monster Points. He’s one of their top scorers, though I’d be lying if I said his shots are graceful or picturesque. But, hey, ugly don’t mean ineffective.
Killer Swag. The fans love it. Opponents hate it. Abueva’s on-court arrogance gives presence to his team, as well as irritates opposing players (and fans) to distraction.
Steady Surge. As Mr. Consistent of the Commissioner’s Cup, he’s provided solid numbers on offense and a sturdy presence on defense. He’s also in great game shape and knows the Alaska system to a T.
Shadow Punch. Dangerous in the paint, Dozier gives up the flashy play in favor of a more basic move, making him more effective, harder to catch, and tougher to defend.
Time Warp. Though only a year into his head coach stint with the team, he served as assistant to Tim Cone in Alaska for years. He knows and understands his players’ strengths and weaknesses.
Tall Revenge. The fact that he’s been unable to beat his mentor (ever!) gives him an extra surge of determination. If anyone has motivation to win it all, it’s Coach Luigi.
NEXT: Alaska's semis opponent, the James Yap-led San Mig Coffee Mixers!