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Incredible Aces turn back Beermen anew

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 12:13 AM January 12, 2015
SAN Miguel Beer’s Alex Cabagnot loses possession while driving off Alaska’s JV Casio (left) and Samigue Eman in last night’s Game 3. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

SAN Miguel Beer’s Alex Cabagnot loses possession while driving off Alaska’s JV Casio (left) and Samigue Eman in last night’s Game 3. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

This time, it was Alaska coach Alex Compton’s turn to tell the media that he doesn’t know what happened out there in Game 3.

The Aces left their coach dumbfounded last night after coming back from a 21-point third quarter deficit to limit powerhouse San Miguel Beer to just six points in the fourth period for a 78-70 win and a 2-1 lead in their bruising PBA Philippine Cup title showdown at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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“I don’t know what to tell you,” Compton told reporters minutes after their latest come-from-behind caper in these playoffs. “I really don’t know what it is. The guys did everything. I didn’t call magical plays out there.”

“I know you (media) are getting tired of this, but everything starts from our defense,” Compton said. “Our defensive intensity in the fourth quarter was overwhelming.”

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Alaska stared at a 40-61 deficit late in the third and started the fourth down by 18 before playing all heart on both ends with a 20-1 run that had the Aces wresting a 66-65 lead going into the final 4:57.

The Beermen were held to just one field goal in the fourth period and their six points were an all-time franchise low in a quarter. That total also equaled the second lowest all-time while also setting a franchise mark for the lowest fourth quarter and fewest points in a period in a playoff game for the league’s oldest team.

Dondon Hontiveros hit two of his three triples during that rally and Sonny Thoss had eight of his 10 as Alaska notched a second win in the series that was pretty much in the same way that the Aces carved out in Game 1—coming from a 20-plus-point deficit.

Alaska won Game 1 after surviving a five-point first quarter and a 22-point deficit. In the Final Four, the Aces won two games over Rain or Shine by coming back from 17 and 19 down in the second period of Games 1 and 5, respectively.

Game 4 of this series is slated on Wednesday night also at the Big Dome in Cubao, and San Miguel coach Leo Austria will have to make the adjustments again.  But before making the adjustments, Austria owned up to the loss.

“First of all, this is my full responsibility,” Austria said of the loss. “This is all my fault, I wasn’t able to control the game.”

But Austria gave hints that all his instructions weren’t being followed.

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“All I can do is let them run the game,” Austria said of his players. “We were trying to get the ball to June Mar (Fajardo) in the shaded area but it just didn’t get there.”

Calvin Abueva scored 16 points, had 15 rebounds and five assists and bloodied Arwind Santos up for the second straight game after landing an elbow on the right eyebrow of the 2012 MVP in the first quarter.

In the fourth period, he outworked the entire San Miguel team off the boards, 10-8.

The scores:

ALASKA 78—Abueva 16, Casio 11, Thoss 10, Exciminiano 8, Hontiveros 8, Baguio 7, Jazul 7, Manuel 6, Eman 3, Banchero 2, Dela Cruz 0, Menk 0, Dela Rosa 0, Espinas 0.

SAN MIGUEL 70—Santos 20, Fajardo 13, Cabagnot 7, Lassiter 7, Ross 6, Semerad 4, Lutz 3, Fortuna 3, Tubid 3, Kramer 2, Omolon 2, Maierhofer 0, Pascual 0, Chua 0.

Quarters: 13-8, 27-35, 46-64, 78-70

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TAGS: Alaska Aces, Alaska-San Miguel Beer Finals, Basketball, PBA, PBA Philippine Cup
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