MANILA, Philippines—Alaska drew bounce-back games from JVee Casio and Calvin Abueva to fight its way to a 104-99 win over Talk ‘N Text Friday in Game 4 of their best-of-seven semifinals series in the 38th PBA Philippine Cup at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Casio and Abueva, who combined for just 11 points in the Aces’ 79-93 loss in Game 3, redeemed themselves with 22 and 15 points respectively.
“It’s just one of those games… It was a grind out type of win,” said Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo. “Talk ‘N Text is an explosive team and we limited them to 18 points in the third. We know it’s not going to be easy.”
Cyrus Baguio, who joined the 5,000-point club in the first half, also came up big with 18 points on four-of-six shooting from long range, with his last triple appeared to be the dagger basket that widened Alaska’s gap to five, 99-94, with 1:15 left.
The Tropang Texters had several cracks at the basket that would’ve trimmed the deficit to just three but on both occasions the Aces were able to make stops defensively.
TNT had six players in double-figure scoring led by Jimmy Alapag’s 17 points but just couldn’t convert down the stretch to complete its comeback from 13 points down in the final frame.
Jayson Castro shot nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to pull the defending champion to within two, 94-96, on a jumper with 1:28 remaining before Baguio’s basket gave Alaska more breathing room.
“Concern for me is we gave them 13 more rebounds and had 20 offensive rebounds. You give them credit for doing that. All we did right now is make it a best of three,” added Trillo.
Veteran swingman Dondon Hontiveros also gave Alaska a lift with 12 points, seven in the third period.
The Aces were able to pull ahead, 81-74, in the third period despite Abueva and Casio having to sit on the bench majority of the quarter with four personal fouls each.
Abueva also had 11 rebounds and four blocks to offset his five errors while Casio dished out five assists with no turnover.
Sonny Thoss fell a point short of a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds to go along with three assists and three blocks.
The pivotal Game 5 is set on Sunday at 5 p.m. in the same venue.