Alaska finally won one over San Mig Coffee and made former coach Tim Cone miss his pre-game prediction of a “magnificent battle” by a mile.
“I think, for us, the monkey’s off our back,” Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said after a lopsided 86-67 victory over the Mixers last night that tied their best-of-five Cebuana Lhuillier PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Four quarterfinal series at 1-1 at Mall of Asia Arena.
“Failure is temporary, that’s what I have been telling my players,” Trillo added when reminded that he won for the first time in 10 games ever since Cone left the Aces to take the lucrative position at San Mig.
Robert Dozier fired 28 points and collared a season-high 27 rebounds, playing as the catalyst for the Aces who not only played defense as great as the way they played in Game 1 but also had their offense humming all night.
“This is what it is, when your backs are against the wall,” Trillo said in tribute to his players, who held the defending champion Mixers to just 14 points in each of the first two quarters to break away early.
Denzel Bowles, the Best Import winner last year who hit the final six points for San Mig in a 71-69 series-opening win on Saturday, had a career-low eight points and couldn’t bail the Mixers out of this one.
JV Casio backed Dozier up with 16 points built around three triples, and Sonny Thoss added 10 for the Aces, who led by as many as 63-40 late in the third quarter before cruising in the fourth period.
The winner of this series will clash with the survivor of the Talk ‘N Text-Barangay Ginebra matchup, which is also tied at 1-1 after the Tropang Texters posted an 85-79 win on Sunday.
The playoffs will be taking a break starting today and will resume on May 8 as the league flies to Digos in Davao del Sur tomorrow for the All-Star Week celebrations.
Meanwhile, Jared Dillinger will undergo surgery for steel implants in his pelvic bone and has been declared out for the rest of the season for Talk ‘N Text and out of the Gilas-Pilipinas pool. Dillinger figured in a vehicular accident at dawn on Saturday.
“Down to 15 men,” national coach Chot Reyes said in his Twitter account after learning the extent of Dillinger’s injury.
The 6-foot-4 guard now joins TNT teammate Kelly Williams, who has a blood disorder, in the sidelines.
ALASKA 86—Dozier 28, Casio 16, Thoss 8, Baguio 8, Hontiveros 5, Espinas 4, Jazul 2, Laure 2, Dela Cruz 2, Bugia 1, Ramos 0, Reyes 0, Eman 0,Belasco 0.
SAN MIG COFFEE 67—Devance 15, Simon 15, Bowles 8, Yap 5, Barroca 4, Alvarez 3, Mallari 3, Pingris 3, Reavis 3, Ponferrada 2, Gaco 2, Najorda 2, De Ocampo 2, Pacana 0, Gonzales 0.
Quarters: 24-14, 43-28, 63-44, 86-67