MANILA, Philippines—Alaska import Robert Dozier dominated on both ends of the floor as the Aces beat Meralco, 85-81, Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Dozier collected 27 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks to help Alaska grab a share of the early lead in the standings with Barako Bull at 2-0.
“I thought our guys gave Dozier a look. His versatility is nice to watch,” marvelled Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo. “We’re still a long way to where we want to be.”
The Bolts played catch up majority of the game but had their chances to win with Ryan Buenafe hitting a three that cut the Aces’ lead to just two, 81-83, with 11.2 seconds remaining.
Tony dela Cruz made two free throws to set the final tally. Calvin Abueva and Cyrus Baguio added 20 and 16 points respectively.
Alaska did a good job in containing Meralco import Chad Dawson, who came off a 37-point outburst in the Bolts’ 99-92 stunner over Talk ‘N Text last Saturday.
“We had to focus (our defense) on Dawson. Credit Sonny Thoss he’s been doing the defense,” Trillo said, whose defensive game plan worked with Dawson held to just 15 points.
“Meralco seems to be playing together, they have a good import he’s the type of import who can win import of the conference,” added Trillo.
The Bolts dropped to 1-1.
ALASKA 85 – Dozier 27, Abueva 20, Baguio 16, Casio 8, Espinas 6, Thoss 6, Dela Cruz 2, Ramos 0, Jazul 0, Eman 0, Hontiveros 0, Belasco 0.
MERALCO 81 – Manuel 18, Dawson 15, Buenafe 14, Cardona 11, Ross 6, Hugnatan 5, Hodge 4, Artadi 4, Guevarra 2, Borboran 2, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0.
Quarters: 26-21, 47-39, 63-62, 85-81