Aces trim Mixers, near Finals berthBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:45 p.m.—Barangay Ginebra vs Talk ‘N Text
The biggest-ever crowd in the PBA saw a classic come-from-behind victory, but not from the team a vast majority of the 23,108 souls in attendance came to see.
Alaska hacked out an 89-82 triumph over San Mig Coffee in overtime, overcoming a 16-point third quarter deficit and a bum call late in regulation to move within another win of reaching the Cebuana Lhuillier-Commissioner’s Cup Finals at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Second-string point guard RJ Jazul atoned for missing a wide-open layup at the end of the fourth by making the first six Alaska points in extra time before the rest of the Aces held the Mixers to just two points the rest of the way to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five series.
“It’s just another game, we can’t get too excited,” Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said. “I’ve been here (in the PBA) long enough to know that 2-1 is nothing. You can’t celebrate. All we did was give ourselves the opportunity to get it (Finals seat) in one of those two (remaining) games.”
Game 4 is set Saturday also at the Big Dome and Alaska, after losing its first nine clashes with its former coach, San Mig mentor Tim Cone, can win a third straight and book a first title series stint since winning the 2010 Fiesta Conference with Diamon Simpson.
Alaska made a game out of it by working doubly hard in the third, cutting down what once stood as a 36-52 deficit to 54-59 entering the fourth after the Mixers scored just 14 points in the period.
The Mixers could have won it easily in regulation but they made only three of their last eight free throw attempts.
Calvin Abueva finished with 24 points capped by the insurance dunk with 36.7 seconds remaining after Cyrus Baguio smothered James Yap’s jumper try on the other end.