PBA: Aces halt Beermen’s streak
Alaska snapped San Miguel’s seven-game winning streak and improved its chances on snaring one of the coveted top two spots in the 2016 Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup with a 103-97 victory Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces put the Beermen away with an 8-0 run for a 101-94 lead with 23 ticks left.
The Beermen battled back from a 12-point deficit and even led, 94-93, with 1:22 left to play after a Chris Lutz baseline jumper but they failed to follow it up after three straight misses from Arwind Santos.
Sonny Thoss led the balanced attack for Alaska with 18 points and five rebounds, while Calvin Abueva tallied 17 markers, 11 boards, and five assists in the victory.
Chris Banchero also had 17 points and five rebounds, Vic Manuel finished with 12 markers, including the go-ahead dunk at the 1:11 mark of the fourth to put Alaska up, 95-94, and Cyrus Baguio shot 10 for the Aces.
“We knew it’s gonna be tough. I’m proud of our guys effort tonight, that when we went up by 10, we felt no comfort,” said coach Alex Compton, as Alaska tied Rain or Shine at second spot at 8-2.
The American coach also praised the effort of his wards, drawing lessons from the Aces’s defeat to Rain or Shine last Friday.
“Rain or Shine came back and beat us, and tonight, San Miguel took back the lead. We’re playing against the top teams and the only time the lead is safe is when the game is over,” said Compton.
June Mar Fajardo became the second local to register a 40-20 game with his new career-high 43 points and 20 rebounds in the losing effort for San Miguel. Asi Taulava was the only one to achieve such feat with 49 points and 21 rebounds back in the 2003 Invitational Conference.
Unfortunately, the Herculean load on Fajardo’s broad shoulders proved to be too much as Alaska escaped with the victory.
“We still haven’t figured a way to stop June Mar, but most important is that we won the game tonight and gave ourselves a good shot at the top of the standings,” Compton said.
Alex Cabagnot had 19 markers and five assists for the Beermen, while Santos ended up with 10 points and seven boards,
At 9-2, the Beermen are now in danger of missing the automatic semifinals berth and will now hope for a Barako win against Alaska or an NLEX win against Rain or Shine to snare one of the top two spots.
ALASKA 103 – Thoss 18, Abueva 17, Banchero 17, Manuel 12, Baguio 10, Jazul 9, Menk 6, Casio 5, Baclao 2, Dela Cruz 2, Dela Rosa 2, Exciminiano 2, Eman 1, Hontiveros 0.
SAN MIGUEL 97 – Fajardo 43, Cabagnot 19, Santos 10, Lutz 8, Tubid 6, Espinas 5, Heruela 2, Omolon 2, Ross 2, Arana 0, De Ocampo 0, Lassiter 0, Reyes 0.
Quarters: 16-19, 40-37, 74-64, 103-97.