Purefoods holds off Alaska, enters semis | Inquirer Sports

Purefoods holds off Alaska, enters semis

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 05:06 PM March 29, 2015

Joe Devance of Purefoods (light) vs Calvin Abueva of Alaska (dark). PBA IMAGE by Nuki Sabio

Joe Devance of Purefoods (light) vs Calvin Abueva of Alaska (dark). PBA IMAGE by Nuki Sabio

DEFENDING champion Purefoods survived Alaska, 96-89, to enter the semifinals of the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Hotshots looked well on their way to a blowout after taking a 75-55 lead following a 3-pointer by Mark Barroca early in the fourth quarter.

But Purefoods needed to hold off the Aces, who got to within four, 88-84, after a baseline floater by Damion James with 2:12 remaining. Marc Pingris stretched the Hotshots lead to six before two free throws by Alex Mallari sealed the game, 92-84, with 32.8 seconds left.

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“It certainly got scary there in the end,” Purefoods head coach Tim Cone said. “And now it’s just a big relief to get through the quarterfinals against such a tough opponent like Alaska.”

“I know Rain or Shine was saying they had the toughest battle but I think we have the toughest battle out there having to play Alaska,” Cone added. “Lucky our first group got out there and toughened up. Ping had a big shot off a nice pass and we were able to make stops and we made our free throws too which is remarkable for us.”

Denzel Bowles scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Hotshots. Joe Devance added 16 points.

Guard RJ Jazul went 6-of-8 from downtown en route to a 22-point outing while import Damion James had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Aces, who finished the conference in sixth place after being a finalist in the Philippine Cup.

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Purefoods swept its best-of-three quarterfinals series after breezing past Alaska in Game 1, 120-86, last Friday and will play No. 2 Talk ‘N Text in a best-of-five semifinals.

The Tropang Texters crushed the Barako Bull Energy, 127-97, in their quarterfinals matchup last Saturday.

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Purefoods outlasted Talk ‘N Text in triple overtime in Davao in their lone elimination round meeting.

“It’s going to be a whale of a series. They’re playing well, we’re playing pretty well and it should be a really, really good series.”

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TAGS: Alaska, Basketball, News, PBA, Purefoods, Sports

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