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Aces keeping faith

Its lead gone in the finals series against San Miguel Beer, Alaska players are still confident the Aces are capable of pulling it off in Game 7 tomorrow in the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup.

“It’s down to one game, it’s just a matter of executing our plays,” said Alaska guard JV Casio.

In the first three games of the title showdown, the Aces always found ways in the fourth quarter to thwart the defending champion Beermen and took a 3-0 advantage in the best-of-seven affair.

Things were looking good in Game 4 when Alaska tried to go for the kill on SMB towards a 15th PBA championship when the Alex Compton-mentored team grabbed an 11-point lead with less than four minutes left in the final frame.

San Miguel rallied back, and although Cyrus Baguio buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to extra period, the Beermen still escaped with a 110-104 OT win in Game 4.

SMB coach Leo Austria’s boys won anew via OT in Game 5, 86-73, when it used a decisive run in the fourth quarter of Game 6 that turned a 67-66 lead to a 100-89 convincing win.

Now, it’s down to one last game – a do-or-die.

Veteran shooter Dondon Hontiveros said they are still confident, though he understands it’s not going to be easy even for San Miguel despite the fact that they have the momentum.

“It’s like last year, it’s like last season when we played them in Game 7 (for the Philippine Cup). It wasn’t easy.

But we feel we’re prepared for this one, we just have to be focused,” said Hontiveros, a former Beermen who is in his third season with Alaska.

“Kalimutan na namin yung nangyari sa mga previous games, focus lang kami on Game 7,” he added.

Following the grueling Game 6, Compton said pressure is on San Miguel considering that many people gave them the tag ‘favorite’ to capture the championship and even complete a rare ‘grand slam’ title this season.

“I think the pressure is on them,” Compton said.

“I don’t know how you guys see it, but the team you’re all writing about that was expected to win a Grand Slam, now has the step up in Game 7,” added Compton, who is looking for his first PBA title after losing to SMB not only in the Philippine Cup but also in the Governors’ Cup last season.