MANILA, Philippines – Import Robert Dozier scored 19 points and grabbed 20 rebounds as Alaska fought off Barako Bull 77-73 Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
High-octane guard Cyrus Baguio added 11 points to help the Aces take an early lead in the standings as the only unbeaten team in the league at 3-0.
“We played strong teams but we got lucky,” said Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo on his team’s unblemished mark. “I’m just impressed with Barako. We needed to sacrifice our own individual stats to match up.”
The Aces chalked up their first win on a buzzer-beating layup by Baguio before beating Meralco in their second game.
This time, it took more than just luck as Alaska did it at the defensive end to held off Barako Bull, which recovered from a 17-point hole in the second period to even take a 67-61 lead on a coast to coast by Danny Seigle with 8:57 left.
“We got comfortable with the lead. We needed to tightened up in the fourth,” said Dozier.
“I wasn’t pleased with our defense. I told my guys we got to do it better defensively. We were breaking down, we have to make stops and the offense follows,” added Trillo.
True enough, the Aces forced three straight turnovers before regaining the advantage 69-67 on a basket by Dondon Hontiveros off the assist from Sonny Thoss.
Mark Macapagal nailed an open trey off a solid screen set by Mick Pennisi to keep the Energy Cola in the game 73-75 with still 1:31 left.
But Barako Bull, which suffered only its first setback in three games, failed to convert in the waning seconds with its import Evan Brock misfiring from three before Baguio put the game away at the line with 3.3 seconds remaining.
Josh Urbiztondo paced the Energy Cola with 15 points through three quarters while Brock, the former NBA player with the Atlanta Hawks, added 12 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks.
“It feels great but we have got to stay humble, we still have work to do. Everybody played great today,” said the lanky six-foot-nine Dozier, who was a late 2009 draft pick by the Miami Heat.
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