by Jonas Terrado
Game Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
6:30 p.m. – Ginebra vs Rain or Shine
(Series tied 1-1)
ANTIPOLO CITY – The refuse-to-lose attitude of the Alaska Aces allowed them to live and fight for another day as they prevented the San Miguel Beermen from sweeping their best-of-five semifinal series last night for a 125-104 victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center here.
The Aces led for most of the way but it was not until the final stretch of the third quarter that gave them enough cushion to stay alive and force a fourth game set Sunday night back at the familiar surroundings of the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Diamon Simpson, dealing with an ankle injury sustained in Game 2, had 21 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks while Vic Manuel regained his old form to score 24 points after averaging 15.5 in the first two games.
Coach Alex Compton also got a huge lift from his bench, namely Noy Baclao, Simon Enciso, Jake Pascual, Abel Galliguez, and Carl Bryan Cruz in giving Alaska its biggest lead at 23 points, 106-83, early in the payoff period.
Baclao provided quality minutes for the Aces with nine points and seven rebounds while Galliguez, Enciso, Pascual, and Cruz combined for 38 points.
“It kinda felt it was just our day,” said Compton. “They made a bunch of shots and we had a bunch of bounces go our way. I just felt like it was one of those days and I hope we have many of those days.”
Meantime, Rain or Shine and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel dispute a 2-1 lead tonight in Game 3 of their own best-of-five semifinal series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elasto Painters will look to build on their impressive 109-100 victory in Game 2 and beat Ginebra for the second straight time in their game set at 6:30 p.m.
Clutch baskets by Gabe Norwood, import Reggie Johnson and James Yap in the final two minutes allowed Rain or Shine to score the final 10 points and end Ginebra’s eight-game winning streak dating back to the eliminations.
ALASKA 125 – Manuel 24, Simpson 21, Casio 15, Enciso 10, Exciminiano 9, Baclao 9, Racal 8, J. Pascual 7, Galliguez 7, Teng 6, Cruz 5, Thoss 4,
SAN MIGUEL 104 – Balkman 28, Fajardo 18, Standhardinger 10, Ross 9, Lassiter 9, Cabagnot 8, Heruela 8, Lanete 6, Nabong 5, Santos 3.
Quarters: 27-25; 64-55; 94-77; 125-104.