Alaska stuns top seed Ginebra, forges do-or-die for semis berth

Rey Joble, · Wednesday, January 22, 2014 · 10:36 pm
PBA/Nuki Sabio
PBA/Nuki Sabio

Despite playing in their third straight knockout game, the Alaska Aces still found enough energy as they outdueled top seed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to live and fight for at least another game.

The Aces forged a winner-take-all showdown for a semifinals berth by outplaying the Kings, 104-97, in the quarterfinals of the PLDT Home DSL PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Calvin Abueva played with his usual energy and a renewed focus, posting 16 points, 11 rebounds and three steals in the game. He managed to do much of the dirty work for his team while staying away from foul trouble in the contest.

The rest of his Alaska teammates chipped in with a little bit of everything. Seven Aces scored in double figures, led by veterans Dondon Hontiveros and Cyrus Baguio, who finished with 18 points apiece.

JVee Casio posted 16 points, Sonny Thoss added 13 markers while Gabby Espinas and RJ Jazul scored 12 and 10, respectively, in a display of balanced firepower by the Aces.

The Aces shot the ball well from the three-point region, sinking 12-of-20 shots for a 60 percent clip. They also outrebounded their taller counterparts from the Gin Kings, 48-46.

“It’s just nice to see him play well. He’s had a very tough conference,” Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said about Abueva.

“I didn’t think he could play because of his sprain (ankle), but he’s motivated. Right now, I don’t want him feel satisfied. It’s one game. We’re gonna need him to do the same thing again on Saturday.”

The Aces dominated the game from start to finish, but they started to pull away for good early in the fourth.

A fastbreak basket by Baguio gave the Aces their biggest lead, 92-76, and although the Gin Kings tried to make a rally, the Commissioner’s Cup champions showed their poise to stay on top.

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