MANILA, NOVEMBER 5, 2003 (MALAYA) Alaska faces a must-win situation in its bid to avert potential disaster today when it battles Barangay Ginebra in the Samsung PBA Reinforced Conference at the Astrodome.

A loss will relegate the Aces into a playoff with Purefoods for the last quarterfinals slot in Group A. If this happens, the two squads collide on Friday, with the winner taking on group topnotcher Sta. Lucia Realty in the best-of-three quarterfinals and the loser joining Group B's Shell in an early Christmas vacation.

That is one scenario Alaska coach Tim Cone wants to avoid, the main reason why he and management are doing everything to motivate the Aces and clinch the last quarterfinals berth outright.

The match has no bearing for Ginebra which assured itself of a ticket to the next round by improving to a 6-6 record in Group B two weeks ago.

Nevertheless, the Kings are expected to go into the match looking for win because coach Allan Caidic wants to fine-tune his team for a match-up with either Coca-Cola or Red Bull Barako.

Brandon Lee Cablay's hyper-extended right knee, which sidelined him for three games, has sufficiently healed. He is expected to suit up today for Alaska, although it is doubtful if he is 100 percent.

The Aces, however, must again make do without Ali Peek who is still in the injury list.

He needs at least another week to get his left knee, which recently underwent the knife to remove bone chips, back into shape.

Some bit of consolation is the fact Ginebra's Jun Limpot is also expected to be out due to a hyper-extended rotator cuff.

Red Bull Barako and Talk N Text square off in the opener in what could be a preview of a quarterfinal match-up.

If the Thunder fail to stretch their franchise-best winning streak to 10, they will wind up clashing with the Phone Pals in the next round.

The Phone Pals humiliated the Thunder the first time they met last Sept. 5. But that was before the arrival of ex-Chicago Bull Scott Burrell, who has boosted the team to nine straight wins, the last an 89-84 decision over Coca-Cola.

Talk N Text is also on a high, having snapped a four-game slide with a 97-95 cliffhanger over Ginebra last week that jacked its record to 7-5.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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