Dogfights among the guards

November 22, 2018
Paul Lee and Chris Banchero
Paul Lee and Chris Banchero

Paul Lee and Chris Banchero continue to heal their injuries and recoup energy in preparation for the PBA Governors’ Cup finale expected to be highlighted by virtual dogfights among backcourt players.

Lee banners the irrepressible Magnolia backcourt that includes Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, Justin Melton and PJ Simon while Banchero leads the pesky Alaska Milk guards including JVee Casio, Ping Exciminiano and Simon Encisco.

Both teams made the finals with tremendous boost on the relentless pressing defense and sleek offense of their backcourts.

Both sides have 12 more days to buckle up and brace for what could well be a war of attrition to determine the Governors’ Cup champ.

“Parehas ng style ng laro ang maglalaban. Parehong madepensa. So for sure, magandang series,” said Lee, convinced his knee injury would be completely healed before the best-of-seven series fires off on Dec. 5 at the MOA Arena.

“Sabi ng marami sa amin nag-i-start ang energy ng laro namin. Ganoon din sila. So paghahandaan namin nang husto ito,” said Jalalon.

“Guards nila ang buhay ng Alaska dahil sa sistema na nilalaro nila. Similar din naman ang system namin kaya magandang laban ito,” said Barroca.

The Alaska players, meanwhile, say they would just do what it takes to help their team win.

“That is what we play for, to win the championship,” said Enciso.

Jeron Teng expresses his great excitement, especially him making the finals as a rookie.

“Not all rookies get to the finals,” he said.

With the scrappy plays of the backcourts of both squads, Magnolia and Alaska are the top defensive teams in the tourney.

The Hotshots are No. 1 in steals with 10.5 a game while the Aces average 7.0 on top of 3.56 blocks an outing.

The two teams are almost equal on other departments, with the Hotshots averaging 102.06 points, 49.75 rebounds and 24.8 assists and the Aces norming 102.25 markers, 50.75 boards and 24.56 dole-outs.