CALVIN Abueva drained a trey and Cyrus Baguio beat the game clock for the winner as the Aces scored five points in the last 24 seconds to clip Rain or Shine, 83-81, and get their PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign going on a high note last night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Abueva also had a huge block on 7-foot-3 Rain or Shine import Bruno Sundov with about six seconds to go, paving the way for Baguio to go coast-to-coast before nailing a layup off the glass at the buzzer.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, though, thinks that Sundov was fouled at least twice in that last play and had asked the Commissioner’s Office for a review of the game tape.
“I just think we deserved a call in the last play,” Guiao said. “He (Sundov) got hit in the arm at least twice and it cost us the game. The referees decided this game.”
The win was the first for the Aces over Rain or Shine since Luigi Trillo took over in last year’s Governors’ Cup.
“We just battled through,” Trillo said, referring to a five-minute scoreless spell in the fourth period that had the Painters racing to a 79-74 lead.
In the second game, Eric Dawson had 37 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks as Meralco held off Talk ‘N Text, 99-92.
Rain or Shine, the second-best all-Filipino team this season, had an 81-78 lead with 75 seconds to go after Sundov scored the last of his night-high 30 points from the free throw line off a Robert Dozier foul.
The Elasto Painters also threw away two chances to put the game to bed after Dozier muffed two free throws in the next Alaska possession, leaving the door open for Abueva’s broken-play trey with 10.1 seconds that made it 81-all.
Rain or Shine came out of a timeout and expectedly got the ball to Sundov, whose short stab was deflected from behind by Abueva.
Sundov, the much-ballyhooed NBA veteran who now stands as the tallest player to ever see action in the PBA, also had 15 rebounds in a 40-minute debut.
Meanwhile, Globalport and Barako Bull, surprise opening-day winners, clash for the solo lead at 4:15 p.m. today before the last two squads in the 10-team field, crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra and Air21, debut at 6:30 p.m.
Globalport will have a complete roster against the Energy after import Justin Williams escaped suspension for elbowing Petron Blaze’s June Mar Fajardo in the face and being thrown out with 8:18 left in a 94-92 victory on Friday. Williams was slapped a P40,000 fine by the league yesterday.
ALASKA 83—Dozier 21, Thoss 17, Casio 11, Baguio 9, Abueva 8, Espinas 6, Ramos 5, Jazul 4, Hontiveros 2, Reyes 0, Dela Cruz 0, Belasco 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 81—Sundov 30, Lee 8, Norwood 8, Chan 8, Tang 6, Araña 6, Matias 5, Belga 5, Cruz 2, Quiñahan 2, Tiu 1, Rodriguez 0.
Quarters: 24-23, 40-47, 66-66, 83-81
MERALCO 99—Dawson 37, Buenafe 19, Cardona 16, Manuel 8, Hugnatan 8, Hodge 4, Borboran 3, Guevarra 2, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0, Artadi 0.
TALK ‘N TEXT 92—Benson 25, Alapag 18, Castro17, De Ocampo 9, Fonacier 7, Reyes 6, Dillinger 4, Raymundo 2, Al-Hussaini 2, Carey 2, Aban 0, Ferriols 0.
Quarters: 27-14, 48-41, 68-62, 99-92