Alaska crushes TNT; Petron trims Air21By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THERE’S something about Talk ’N Text that puts Alaska on fire.
The Aces demolished the Tropang Texters, 92-69, last night, when two teams came up with statement games that fanned their winning streaks in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
For Alaska, it was a fifth straight win that solidified its hold of the lead and continued its impressive, spotless start to the tournament.
And it came against a team that always seems to bring the best out of them.
“They’re the champion last conference and they’ve become the most dominant team the past seasons,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo after the unbeaten Aces zoomed to a 5-0 card.
“But some of the guys in our team are warriors, too. They simply bring out the best from each other.”
For Petron, it was establishing itself as a defensive unit despite an overflow of scoring talent in its roster.
Coach Olsen Racela and the Boosters did an exceptional job of keeping the Air21 Express from firing away, carving out a 60-53 decision for a fourth straight victory.
“It was a defensive game for both teams and the score showed it,” said Racela. “Very low scoring game, but I don’t care as long as we make those stops.”
Robert Dozier had 23 points and 18 rebounds while Cyrus Baguio added 17 for the Aces, who forced TNT import Keith Benson to miss nine of his 11 shots from the field and hounded spitfire guards Jimmy Alapag and Jason Castro all night.
In a rematch of their semifinal series in the Philippine Cup, the Aces limited last conference’s champion to five points in the third, TNT’s second lowest output in franchise history in a quarter and ninth all-time low in the league.
The Tropang Texters’ 2 of 21 field goal in the third was also the second worst in a quarter after the same ballclub, then Mobiline, went 1 of 21 in the 2001 season.
“There’s a good matchup whenever we play them, but we don’t expect to win every time,” added Trillo, who lost that recent semifinals to Talk ‘N Text, 4-2, but whose team has now won four of the last seven games between the two squads.
Petron also logged some defensive milestones. The Boosters held the Express, who dropped to 1-4 to share the cellar with Barangay Ginebra, to 24 points at halftime—a franchise low. Air21’s 53 points was also the lowest score in team history and matched the seventh all-time lowest output in a game in the league.
PETRON 60—Balkman 25, Santos 11, Lassiter 7, Tubid 7, Miranda 6, Lanete 4, Fajardo 0, Yeo 0, Washington 0, Peña 0.
AIR21 53—Dunigan 15, Custodio 8, Canaleta 8, Cortez 7, Isip 6, Wilson 5, Omolon 2, Arboleda 2, Atkins 0, Sena 0, Baclao 0, Menor 0.
Quarters: 18-17, 34-24, 41-41, 60-53
ALASKA 92—Dozier 23, Baguio 17, Abueva 10, Casio 10, Hontiveros 10, Ramos 9, Dela Cruz 5, Jazul 2, Eman 2, Espinas 2, Thoss 2, Reyes 0, Velasco 0.
TALK ‘N TEXT 69—Benson 27, Castro 11, Al-Hussaini 6, Reyes 6, Williams 5, Alapag 5, De Ocampo 4, Carey 4, Fonacier 1, Raymundo 0, Gamalinda 0, Dillinger 0, Aban 0.
Quarters: 22-13, 45-39, 73-44, 92-69