San Mig routs Alaska; Talk N’ Text escapes with OT win over MeralcoBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines–San Mig Coffee leaned on a balanced attack to fashion out a 103-83 rout of Alaska Friday night in the 38th PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Yancy de Ocampo notched a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds on top of six assists as the Mixers clicked from the get-go.
“I think what happened was they came in with great expectations and we jumped on them early and they got a little discouraged,” said San Mig head coach Tim Cone.
In the first game, defending champion Talk ‘N Text squandered a commanding lead before grinding out a 112-110 overtime win over Meralco.
The Tropang Texters looked well on their way to an easy win as they led by as much as 24 in the third quarter, 86-62, but the Bolts, led by Jayr Reyes, went on a 20-4 run to close the gap in the fourth and eventually finished the game with the scored tied at 99 at the end of regulation.
The Aces just couldn’t get into the flow of things on both ends.
Newly-acquired Dondon Hontiveros tried to bring Alaska back in the game with 10 of his 14 points coming in the third period but the Mixers wouldn’t allow such.
Stop the slump
San Mig lost twice to Alaska in the preseason and Cone didn’t want his team’s slump to continue where the games really mattered.
“I really didn’t know what to expect to be honest. I thought we were going to be blown out or win a close game,” he said.
And somehow those preseason losses woke his team up.
James Yap added 20 points while Mark Barroca and PJ Simon chipped in with 16 apiece.
Even San Mig’s rookie Aldrech Ramos, the fifth overall pick out of Far Eastern University, gave his team a lift.
“We tried to get the ball to Yancy. He is really crucial to what we do. Everybody played well. We moved the ball well, we hit shots, we defended well,” commended Cone.
The Mixers though, brace for a tough stretch with crucial games against Petron, Talk ‘N Text and Rain or Shine on deck.
Hontiveros paced the Aces with 14 points. JVee Casio struggled with just three points, on one-of-nine shooting from the field including 0-of-six from downtown.
Alaska drew to within 13, 56-69, in the third period before San Mig, thanks to its fluid offense, pushed its lead back to 19 heading into the final frame.
“(I feel) relieved,” said TNT coach Nash Racela, who will play the role of head coach until Norman Black comes back. “Going into this game, our objective is to win regardless. Yun ang bilin ni coach Norman. You can do anything with regards to the gameplan.”
Black is busy working with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, who will play the UST Growling Tigers in a best-of-three UAAP championship series which begins Saturday.
Jayson Castro calmly sank the game-winning free throws with 14.5 ticks left.
Sol Mercado, who set up Reyes for a drive and dish that forged extra session with both teams tied at 99, had another crack to push the match to a second overtime but was defended well and instead settled for an off-balanced attempt from the three-point area which got partially blocked by Larry Fonacier.
Jared Dillinger led the Texters with 20 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists.
Castro added a hard-earned 16 points, including a three that gave the lead back to TNT, 108-106.
Reyes, who was acquired from Alaska, came through with 25 points, 17 of which in the fourth period alone. He also grabbed 14 rebounds.
Ronjay Buenafe also played big for the Bolts with 18 points, 11 in the fourth and overtime.
Everything was going well for the Texters in third and early part of the fourth but the Bolts came alive sparked by their defense.
Meralco drew solid plays on both ends from Cliff Hodge, the fourth overall pick. Hodge, the lanky six-foot-five forward, almost finished with a double-double with 19 points and eight rebounds.