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Alaska a win away from PBA finals

CALVIN Abueva (8) of Alaska looks to pass while being challenged by Rico Maierhofer and  Keith Jensen (32) of Globalport in yesterday’s Game 4 of their Best-of-7 semis battle at the Araneta Coliseum. The Aces won, 109-84 to take a commanding 3-1 lead. (Ernie Sarmiento)

CALVIN Abueva (8) of Alaska looks to pass while being challenged by Rico Maierhofer and Keith Jensen (32) of Globalport in yesterday’s Game 4 of their Best-of-7 semis battle at the Araneta Coliseum. The Aces won, 109-84 to take a commanding 3-1 lead. (Ernie Sarmiento)

Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs San Miguel Beer
(Game 4 best-of-7 semifinals)

Game Tomorrow
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Globalport vs Alaska (Game 5 best-of-7 semifinals)

Alaska coach Alex Compton lowered his head to ponder the question when asked which team he prefers to meet in the finals after the Aces went up 3-1 against Globalport in the semifinals last night.

“I’m not going into that,” Compton said after a few seconds. He doesn’t have to.

After blowing away the Batang Pier, 109-84, in Game 4 of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup best-of-7 semis, the dominant Aces moved within a fourth straight victory of advancing to the finals against either Rain or Shine or defending champion San Miguel Beer – or both with the way they are playing – at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

If successful at wrapping it up in Game 5 tomorrow, it would be of little consequence which opponent Alaska will meet in the championship series since whoever emerges from the extremely bruising semis between the Elasto Painters and the Beermen, which RoS leads 2-1, will likely be at the mercy of the well-rested Aces.

The fourth game against demoralized Globalport was Alaska at its finest for although the Aces posted their biggest lead at 25 points before the final buzzer, the end actually came much earlier when the Batang Pier fell behind 15-6 and 32-20 in the first quarter.

“Today’s effort makes me so proud,” said Compton.

After Game 1 which Globalport won handily, Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio, whose team has lost three in a row, must be aching to feel the same way.

“Totally outhustled kami,” he said. “Di puwedeng extra effort lang. Kailangan battle for each possesson. Wala kaming energy.”

Jarencio remains defiant though.

“Bagsak ang morale pero tignan natin, baka mabuhay pa namin ng coaching staff; kailangang manalo pa sila (Aces) ng isa,” he said.

Alaska need not be reminded.

“I hope we can put it away (in Game 5); I don’t underestimate them,” Compton said. “I hope that our defense stays this way. If we have this same kind of energy, we have a chance against any team out there.”

Emphasis on ‘any team out there.’

Calvin Abueva led the Aces with 20 points while Dondon Hontiveros added 16 with three 3-pointers and RJ Jasul 14, 12 coming from 3-point range.

Terrence Romeo had 24 points for Globalport, 12 in the third quarter when the Batang Pier had their last stand in the first nine minutes before Alaska broke away.

Vic Manuel had two unchallenged layups that hiked a 71-61 Aces lead to 14 in the last three minutes of the period that so infuriated an on-the-bench Jay Washington who banged at the baseline steel railing in front of the press box in apparent disgust.

Meanwhile, short-handed Rain or Shine guns for a similar 3-1 lead when it faces San Miguel in Game 4 at 5 p.m. today here at the Big Dome.

Scores:
ALASKA 109 – Abueva 20, Hontiveros 16, Jazul 14, Banchero 10, Dela Rosa 9, Baguio 8, Casio 8, Eximiniano 7, Baclao 4, Menk 3, Dela Cruz 2, Thoss 0.

GLOBALPORT 84 – Romeo 24, Pringle 16, Washington 12, Yeo 8, Isip 6, Sumang 6, Kramer 4 Jensen 2, Maierhofer 2, Pena 2, Semerad 2, Hayes 0, Mamaril 0, Uyloan 0.

Quarters: 32-20; 54-40; 82-62; 109-84.

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