Hontiveros heats up as Alaska slips past Petron BlazeBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Veteran marksman Dondon Hontiveros caught fire in the payoff period as Alaska slipped past Petron Blaze, 88-86, Friday in the 2012 PBA Philippine Cup at Araneta Coliseum.
Hontiveros showed the Boosters what they lost when they traded him twice as he nailed a trey after the other which brought the upstart Aces to life in the fourth quarter.
“Inspirado din (dahil sila ang kalaban). Maganda dito, nanalo kami. Kasi last time na nakalaban ko sila, Air 21 pa ako, talo kami,” said Hontiveros, who still hasn’t lost his touch at 35.
Alaska turned the game around — from 53-65 deficit to five point lead in the final four minutes — giving the squad its second win of the conference after a two-game slide.
“It was nice to comeback from 12 points. We had some lucky breaks also, because Petron had some open shots but didn’t go in,” said Alaska mentor Luigi Trillo.
Cyrus Baguio led Alaska in scoring with 21 points, which went along with four rebounds, two assists and three streals.
Hontiveros finished with 17 points and seven rebounds — but it was largely the presence of Calvin Abueva which gave the Aces a jolt.
Abueva, only four days removed from his stint in the collegiate ranks, played the way he always had by pulling down 16 rebounds and scoring 12 points.
Alaska lost a five-point lead lead built by Abueva with 4:08 to go, but was quickly regained by five straight markers courtesy of Hontiveros and JVee Casio.
The Boosters, though, went to Chris Lutz and Jay Washington anew to cut the lead down to a point with a minute to go — but lost the chance to tie when Alex Cabagnot had a crucial miss from the stripe.
Down by 84-87, Cabagnot got a crucial break when he was fouled as he was going for the tying basket — but he missed the second of his three attempts.
Petron Blaze, despite having a loaded line-up, still haven’t figured out the right combination and now has to deal with Jumemar Fajardo’s absence for four weeks.
Lutz led the Boosters, which absorbed their third loss, with 20 points and nine rebounds while Washington added 15 points and 13 boards.