WILLIE Miller is one player Alaska can count on, not only to lead his team out of a rut but also to give it the much-needed momentum.
This widespread belief was reinforced by the two-time Most Valuable Player when he emerged as the most consistent local for the Aces in the week that was, enabling them to arrest an alarming skid and get back into the groove in the 2010 PBA Fiesta Conference.
Miller averaged 17.5 points, 5.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds in Alaska’s two wins, earning for himself the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the period April 12 to 18.
Miller made 15 points in the Aces’ 105-95 triumph over Air21 last Wednesday, ending their six-game losing streak dating back to the Philippine Cup Finals against Purefoods.
Miller followed that performance up with 20 points, including the game-winning basket, in an 83-81 squeaker over B-Meg Derby Ace last Saturday at the Xavier University Gym in Cagayan de Oro City.
The last victory is the most satisfying for Alaska since the Llamados, known as the Purefoods Giants, swept the Aces in four games in their RP Cup finale.
To make matters direr, Aces import Diamon Simpson fouled out with still a good 3:43 left.
But Miller made sure victory will be theirs by scoring six of his points and dishing off four of his seven assists in the fourth period to power the Aces back from a 10-point deficit. He capped it all up with the drive through three defenders inside the last 4.5 seconds for the marginal points.
Now, the Aces are tied with the Llamados at 2-2 and Cone hopes the mini-streak is something they can build up on when they resume play after the All-Star break.
Simpson is proving to be a gem for Alaska, and the likes of Sonny Thoss, LA Tenorio and Tony de la Cruz are lending able support.
Still, expect Miller most to be the gauge on where Alaska is headed for.