PBA: Alaska leans on late run to edge GinebraBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines — Alaska went on a blistering run in the final three minutes to escape Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 102-99, in the 38th PBA Governors’ Cup Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Aces closed the game on a 13-3 surge to rally from seven points down, 89-96, to improve its record to 2-1 while also dealing the Gin Kings’ their third loss in four stints.
“Nice to see Wendell (McKines) scratch and claw. He was getting a bit irritated with the defense by Ginebra. He needed to pull through that,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo. “Ginebra really worked hard. We found ourselves finding a little bit of rhythm in the end. I think we’re really lucky to get this one.”
Import Wendell McKines and Calvin Abueva combined for Alaska’s 21 of 32 points in the fourth quarter. McKines collected 27 points, 16 rebounds and five assists while Abueva added a conference-best 18 points to go along with 11 rebounds and five assists.
“Coach told us to weather the storm and stay together. We believed in each other,” said McKines.
“Balanced scoring all throughout. We needed somebody to stop LA (Tenorio) so nilagay na namin si Abueva. He was giving JVee fits,” Trillo added. We needed someone taller against him. Nice to see Calvin get LA tired.”
Cyrus Baguio also had 18 points, including a three-pointer as part of the Aces’ end-game push.
Abueva gave the lead back to Alaska for good, 99-98, with 1:18 left before Baguio found McKines inside for a 102-99 edge with 11 seconds to go.
Dior Lowhord produced his best game yet with 35 points and 17 rebounds while Mac Baracael, who gave Ginebra a boost in the third quarter, added 20, including a one-hander that gave the Kings a 96-89 advantage with 3:17 left.
LA Tenorio dished out eight points and seven assists but missed a free throw that would’ve tied the game at 100 with 34.7 ticks remaining.
Marl Caguioa scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half but had a crucial turnover that led to Abueva’s late basket.
Six Aces notched double-figure scoring with big men Gabby Espinas and Sonny Thoss tallying 12 apiece and JVee Casio netting 11 points.