The Alaska Aces, after a two-week break, return to action in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup when they battle TNT KaTropa 5 p.m., Saturday, May 20 in Legazpi City.

The Aces are hoping to advance to the playoffs. The top eight teams after the single round robin elimination phase advance to the quarterfinals. The ninth to twelfth place squads are eliminated outright.

The Aces (4-3) are in sixth spot ahead of the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters (4-4), the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters (4-5) and the GlobalPort Batang Pier (3-6).

Leading the standings are the San Miguel Beermen (5-1), Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (5-1), the Star Hotshots (7-2), the Meralco Bolts (7-2) and TNT (6-3). Bringing up the rear are the Mahindra Floodbuster (2-7), the Blackwater Elite (2-7) and the NLEX Road Warriors (0-8).

In the quarterfinals the top two teams enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage over the seventh and eighth place squads. The rest of the qualifiers contend in a best-of-three playoff.

A well-rested Alaska team, which enjoyed a long break courtesy of the PBA All-Star Week as well as the Southeast Asia Basketball Association tournament, takes the floor against an equally well-rested TNT crew.

The Aces will be led by reinforcement Corey Jefferson, the highest scoring import in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The Aces will be looking to bounce back from 102-103 loss to bitter rival Ginebra last May 5.

Alaska held a six-point 101-95 lead with 3:08 to go in the game but found their lead reduced to a point, 101-100, after a layup by Joe Devance and a triple by Kevin Ferrer. That lead was extended to two points, 102-100 after a free throw by Chris Banchero. Barangay Ginebra import Justin Brownlee then scored on a layup and converted the bonus free throw to push Ginebra ahead for good, 102-103.

Jefferson had a chance to win the game for Alaska but missed a jumper after his arm was clipped by Brownlee. No foul was called by the referees.

Alaska retained possession however and had one final chance to win with 2.3 seconds left to play. Jvee Casio received the ball and faked off LA Tenorio to leave himself with an open shot. Casio missed the jumper allowing Ginebra to escape with the victory.

Other than Jefferson, Casio and Banchero the Aces will also rely on big men Sonny Thoss, Vic Manuel, Yutien Andrada and Jake Pascual; wing men Kevin Racal, Dondon Hontiveros and Tony Dela Cruz; as well as guards Ping Exciminiano and Simon Enciso.

Alaska faces a TNT squad desperate to grab one of the top two spots. The team jettisoned import Donte Green and replaced him with Joshua Smith who is actually the team’s fourth import this conference.

The 25-year-old Smith will play in the squad’s final two assignments in the elimination round and will reportedly take the floor against Alaska. Smith is 6-foot-10 and spent the last two years with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the NBA D-League, where he averaged 8.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. Greene averaged 29 points, 14.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks in his seven games with TNT.

Alaska Aces point guard Jvee Casio (42) drives strong to the hoop against TNT KaTropa. The Aces return to action in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup when they battle TNT 5 p.m., Saturday, May 20 in Legazpi City.

Alaska Aces point guard Jvee Casio (42) drives strong to the hoop against TNT KaTropa. The Aces return to action in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup when they battle TNT 5 p.m., Saturday, May 20 in Legazpi City.

Alaska Aces forward Vic Manuel (4) tries to fake of TNT KaTropa defender Moala Tautuaa (7). The Aces return to action in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup when they battle TNT 5 p.m., Saturday, May 20 in Legazpi City.

Alaska Aces forward Vic Manuel (4) tries to fake of TNT KaTropa defender Moala Tautuaa (7). The Aces return to action in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup when they battle TNT 5 p.m., Saturday, May 20 in Legazpi City.

Alaska Aces guard Chris Banchero (2) dribbles past TNT KaTropa counterpart Ryan Reyes (10). The Aces return to action in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup when they battle TNT 5 p.m., Saturday, May 20 in Legazpi City.

Alaska Aces guard Chris Banchero (2) dribbles past TNT KaTropa counterpart Ryan Reyes (10). The Aces return to action in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup when they battle TNT 5 p.m., Saturday, May 20 in Legazpi City.