Aces nail 3rd win in a row
THREE in a row.
Refusing to falter after being outplayed through three quarters, Alaska powered its way in the payoff period to escape pesky Kia, 102-94, and keep its chances of making the quarterfinals alive in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum yesterday.
Calvin Abueva feasted in the paint, putting the Aces on his back with a monster double-double outing of team-highs 26 points, on 8-of-14 shooting, and 15 rebounds.
He got plenty of help as well as Buck Henton and Jvee Casio, who both hit critical baskets in the final minute, each scored 20 markers for more firepower.
This third straight win was huge for Alaska as it remained in the hunt for a berth in the quarterfinals, improving to 3-6 after starting out the tournament with six straight losses.
On the other end, the hapless Picanto was eliminated with its ninth straight loss and not a single win to show.
“Gigil lang kami talaga nu’ng first three quarters. Then nu’ng fourth quarter nakuha na namin yu’ng game namin,” said Abueva of Alaska’s performance.
Trailing throughout the first three quarters and early in the fourth, the Aces just needed two solid runs, one to get them back and another to win the game.
Down by 10 to open the fourth, Alaska muscled its way back, orchestrating a 14-2 run in the middle of the quarter to take the lead, 87-84, after Abueva’s basket with 5:16 remaining.
Both teams then went to-to-toe in the next few minutes, resulting in a 94-all deadlock entering the final minute.
But a go-ahead triple by Henton with over a minute left followed by a tough fadeaway from Casio in the next possession propelled the Aces to victory.
Ping Exciminiano and Chris Banchero provided more firepower from the backcourt, adding 14 and 11 more points, respectively, for the Aces.
Kia actually played its best game of the tournament, controlling the game for most part but still, it wasn’t meant to be.
Geron Johnson led all scorers with a game-high 39 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists for Kia in a near triple-double performance.
ALASKA 102 - Abueva 26, Henton 20, Casio 20, Exciminiano 14, Banchero 11, Thoss 4, Racal 3, Baclao 2, Cruz 2, Mendoza 0, Magat 0, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0, Enciso 0.
KIA 94 - Johnson 39, Paniamogan 12, Elorde 11, Yee 11, Khobuntin 10, Ballesteros 4, Celda 3, Jaime 2, Corpuz 2, Revilla 0, Camson 0, Salva 0.
Quarterscores: 23-27, 46-51, 67-77, 102-94.