5:15 p.m. – Leo Prieto Awards Ceremonies
7:00 p.m. – Alaska vs. San Miguel (Game Three)
DESPITE their 2-0 lead, coach Tim Cone of Alaska vowed to come up with a stronger performance against San Miguel Beer in game three of the best-of-seven title series of the 35th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Fiesta Conference at the Araneta Coliseum.
The veteran mentor Cone, owner of 12 titles in the league, warned his players not to be carried away by their two straight wins and urged them to play their best when they face the Beermen at 7 p.m.
“We’ve got to come out with a lot of energy and be more aggressive in game three,” said Cone.
A win by the Aces will move them just a win away from their 13th crown and tie Crispa as the second winningest team in the professional league, behind San Miguel’s 18.
“I’ve lost a 2-0 lead. I’ve even lost a 3-1 lead. I’ve leads you can possibly imagine,” said Cone, citing at least six teams which successfully defied a 0-2 deficit and went on to win the title. Among them were Talk ‘N Text and Purefoods, which they did twice, and once for Ginebra and Toyota.
Cone was honest enough to admit that he never expected back-to-back wins in the series, their fourth straight including game six and seven of their semifinal battle against the Tropang Texters, which they won 4-3.
“We did not expect the 2-0 lead. The game was high-quality. We did a great job of not panicking. We did not buckle down under great pressure,” said Cone, the architect of Alaska’s 23 of the total 25 finals stint.
Import Diamon Simpson is again expected to lead the Aces along with LA Tenorio, Cyrus Baguio, Tony de la Cruz, Mark Borboran, Reynel Hugnatan and the comebeacking Sonny Thoss.
“I expect Sonny (Thoss) to play in game three,” noted Cone.
The 6’6” Simpson scored 29 points on top of 17 rebounds in game two, which was a fitting follow-up to his 28 points and 21 rebounds in the first game.
Meanwhile, James Yap of B-Meg Derby Ace and Jay Washington of San Miguel Beer lead the cast of candidates for the 2009-2010 PBA MVP awards on Wednesday.
The 2007 MVP Yap was the best player of the conference in the 35th Philippine Cup while Washington gained the prize in the import-laden conference.
The PBA will honor the cream of the crop for the 2009-2010 season in its annual Leo Prieto Awards rites at 5:15 p.m. before game three of the best-of-seven finals between Alaska and San Miguel Beer.
Other candidates for the MVP plum are LA Tenorio of Alaska, Kelly Williams and Mark Cardona of Talk ‘N Text, Arwind Santos of the Beermen, Asi Taulava of Coca-Cola and Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood.
It’s also a close battle among freshmen Rico Mauierhofer of Derby Ace, Sta. Lucia’s Josh Urbiztondo and Chris Ross, as well as Rain or Shine’s Jervy Cruz and Ronnie Matias of Air 21, for the equally coveted Rookie of the Year honor.