by Jonas Terrado
Alaska did the unexpected Sunday by grounding Terrence Jones and TNT KaTropa in convincing fashion, 108-72, to force their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal encounter to a do-or-die match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces handed the KaTropa their worst playoff defeat by forcing them to shoot 29-percent while also leaving Jones frustrated throughout the match by forcing him to seven turnovers.
Jones scored 19 points but was not the same player that engineered TNT’s to a dominant 10-1 record and top seed going into the playoffs.
His disappointment was evident when Jones shoved Carl Bryan Cruz after missing a layup attempt at the end of the third, resulting in a Flagrant Foul 1.
TNT opted to sit Jones for the remainder of the contest with Alaska way ahead 89-60.
“Didn’t see that coming,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton, who after Friday’s overtime win over Meralco mentioned that no one can have a good matchup against the ex-NBA player.
The Aces hope to complete a Cinderella upset on Wednesday at the Big Dome for a spot in the best-of-five semifinals.
Alaska also limited TNT’s other main weapons Roger Pogoy to just two points on 1-of-10 shooting and Troy Rosario to nine points.
Six players scored in double figures for the Aces with import Diamon Simpson and Jeron Teng leading the way with 15 points each.
Simon Enciso and Chris Banchero had 14 points apiece and Vic Manuel added 13 for thee Aces, whose lead grew to 108-70 during garbage time.
Alaska led 53-41 at the half before Teng, Manuel and Banchero combined for 18 of the Aces’ 36 points in the third to pummel TNT.
Jayson Castro was one of the few bright spots for TNT with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists.
ALASKA 108 — Teng 15, Simpson 15, Enciso 14, Banchero 14, Manuel 13, Cruz 11, Casio 8, Racal 7, Galliguez 5, Baclao 2, Exciminiano 2, Ayaay 2, Thoss 0, Pascual 0.
TNT KATROPA 72 — Castro 23, Jones 19, Rosario 9, Taha 5, Reyes 4, Magat 4, A. Semerad 3, Heruela 2, Pogoy 2, Trollano 1, D. Semerad 0, Golla 0, Washington 0, Casiño 0.
Quarters: 27-18; 53-41; 89-60; 108-72.