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Without letup, Alaska roars to 3rd straight win.
The Alaska Aces leaned on key baskets from Sonny Thoss and prevented the Mahindra Floodbuster from completing their fourth quarter comeback to come away with a 98-92 victory last night and remain unbeaten in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Thoss scored six of his 11 points during a telling 10-0 run which came after Mahindra reduced a pair of 18-point deficits to just five with over four minutes left in the payoff period.
The 13-year-old veteran scored four straight points, Calvin Abueva and rookie Carl Bryan Cruz had a pair of baskets before Thoss completed the run with 1:51 remaining to make it 97-82 for the Aces.
That run was done sans import Cory Jefferson, who was rested by coach Alex Compton after Mahindra got to within 87-82 on a dunk by James White with exactly 4:17 to play.
“It felt like that momentum was clearly on Mahindra’s side, and Cory asked for a seat. But then Sonny came in and he played like our import,” Compton said. “He asserted himself, he got rebounds, we got stop, he got buckets.”
“I felt that stretch with Cory out, our local guys did a great job and really helped finish the win for us,” added Compton.
Jefferson erupted for 17 points in the first quarter on his way to a game-high 30 alongside 11 rebounds for the Aces.
Abueva came off the bench to produce 17 points, six rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes of action.
Alaska was in cruise control from the start to take a 28-18 lead after the first quarter thanks to Jefferson’s hot start. The Aces extended the margin to 68-50 on Cruz’s two foul shots with 4:43 remaining in the third.
A Jvee Casio layup put Alaska in front 83-68, 8:51 left in the fourth, but Mahindra went on a 14-4 run in a four-minute stretch which White completed with a slam to give Alaska some scare.
But Thoss rose to the occasion like he was still a youngster, squashing Mahindra’s bid to score an upset win.
ALASKA 98 – Jefferson 30, Abueva 17, Thoss 11, Racal 8, Cruz 8, Enciso 6, Exciminiano 5, Galliguez 5, Pascual 2, Casio 2, Mendoza 2, Andrada 2, Magat 0.
MAHINDRA 92 – White 30, Yee 13, Revilla 12, David 10, Mallari 7, Celda 5, Paniamogan 5, Guevarra 2, Teng 2, Galanza 2, Ballesteros 2, Elorde 2, Deutchman 0, Caperal 0, Salva 0.
Quarters: 28-18; 50-40; 74-61; 98-92.