Latest Stories

Abueva, Baguio help Aces boot out Bolts


JAY-R Reyes of Meralco (right) and Tony dela Cruz of Alaska battle for the rebound in last night’s match. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

STARTING out hot and reaching boiling point near the end, Alaska Milk didn’t take any chances and ripped Meralco, 88-70, for a 2-0 sweep of the Bolts at Smart Araneta Coliseum and a Final Four seat in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Rookie Calvin Abueva was the Aces’ energizer, and the veteran Cyrus Baguio the team’s biggest finisher as Alaska booked a semifinal appearance for the first time since the Aces won the 2010 Fiesta Cup with Diamon Simpson in tow.

And that means a best-of-seven clash with powerhouse defending champion Talk ‘N Text starting Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

This is also the first time that the Aces have gone this deep in a tournament ever since the multi-titled Tim Cone orphaned the squad a year after that Fiesta Cup conquest.

“I don’t want to take anything away from us, but Meralco was a tired team,” Alaska coach Luigi Trillo told reporters after recording his personal milestone. Trillo had won just three games in his first conference, last season’s Governors’ Cup.

“It’s a dream come true for me,” continued the young mentor, Alaska’s second head coach after Cone left with Joel Banal being the first. “If you’re facing a coaching staff like (what) Meralco (has), I never expected that it would be like this.”

JV Casio was also splendid, canning all of his 17 points in the first three periods as the Aces took leads of as many as 17 to keep the Bolts at bay all night. Casio also issued a team-high eight assists and had five rebounds.

The Aces opened up with a 22-7 lead in the first seven minutes and never looked back, playing with complete command against a Meralco side that took a semifinal tumble for the fourth time in the last seven conferences.

Mark Cardona paced the Bolts, but the unorthodox scorer was never really able to assert himself offensively. Sol Mercado finished with 15 points despite playing hurt.

“They had three games in five days,” Trillo said of the Bolts. “I really feel that they lacked the energy and if they were 100%, I doubt if we could have played with the control that we had (tonight).

“But you have to take advantage of your opportunities.”

Abueva, the second overall choice in the Draft, was all over the floor, his fierce determination to be part of practically every play showing as he finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and three monster blocks.

Baguio, meanwhile, was the go-to-guy every time the Bolts tried to creep closer.

“Maybe it was because we really wanted to make the semifinals,” the soft-spoken Baguio said in Filipino when asked of the solid effort the entire team came up with. “Our efforts have been repaid.

“Before the start of the conference, our goal has really been to make the championship,” added the creative slasher out of University of Santo Tomas, when asked if he liked their chances against the “three-peat-seeking” Tropang Texters.

The game was intense right from the beginning, with play being stopped several times due to scuffles involving several personalities, including Baguio and Abueva, who got entangled with Cliff Hodge several times.

Rain or Shine, the reigning Governors’ Cup champion, was still playing Barangay Ginebra at press time, with the Elasto Painters also seeking a sweep to advance opposite No. 2 San Mig Coffee.

The scores:

First Game

ALASKA 88—Abueva 18, Baguio 18, Casio 17, Espinas 13, Jazul 8, Baracael 6, Hontiveros 5, Thoss 3, Dela Cruz 0, Belasco 0.

MERALCO 70—Cardona 18, Mercado 15, Hodge 11, Hugnatan 9, Ross 6, Salvacion 6, Reyes 4, Buenafe 1, Bulawan 0, Sharma 0.

Quarters: 26-16, 44-34, 70-55, 88-70

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Alaska Aces , Basketball , Calvin Abueva , Cyrus Baguio , Meralco Bolts , PBA , PBA Philippine Cup

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • DPWH to favor road rehab over preventive maintenance in next 2 years
  • Uruguay’s leader declares $322,883 in wealth
  • Classes to resume at Pennsylvania stabbing school
  • DENR to tighten watch vs illegal logging in Davao area during Holy Week
  • SC junks Syjuco petition vs Ombudsman Act
  • Sports

  • Knicks prevent Nets from clinching fifth seed
  • Arsenal beats West Ham 3-1 in Premier League
  • Memorial service marks Hillsborough anniversary
  • My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
  • Freddie Roach: I’m satisfied; Manny Pacquiao did well
  • Lifestyle

  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  • Entertainment

  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • 2NE1 returns to Manila with “All Or Nothing” Tour
  • Gary Valenciano just keeps moving
  • Business

  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Make a stylish statement with the all-new Yaris
  • Hearing set in Olarte case
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
  • Relief worker draws inspiration from helping Yolanda victims
  • Philippines says peace pact should hold despite clashes
  • No travel restrictions to Middle East amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Measures set against entry of MERS-CoV
  • Marketplace