Aces take 2-1 lead over Batang Pier
WITH its defense holding sway for the second straight game, Alaska has established its character in its half of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup Final Four playoffs with GlobalPort and is looking very much in complete control.
The Aces shut down Terrence Romeo yet again and made everyone else in the Batang Pier lineup struggle for an 82-69 win and a 2-1 lead in their race-to-four affair in the season-opening conference at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Alaska’s offense then clicked in the fourth as the Aces broke away from what had been a tied game at 53 at the end of the third to become the first team to win consecutive games here.
GlobalPort, since scoring a 107-93 upset in the series opener on Monday, has seen its guns jammed in the last two outings.
The Batang Pier have scored just an average of 72.5 points in the last two, with Romeo, after erupting for a career-high 41 in Game 1, averaging just 18.5 points in the last two losses.
“It was a huge defensive effort from us; it’s not easy guarding those guys,” Alaska coach Alex Compton said.
Romeo was also scoreless in the fourth period last night. In the Game 2 defeat, the Gilas Pilipinas point guard was held down to just two in the final two periods after shooting 18 in the first half.
The spike-haired guard out of FEU also lost his cool in the face of the unforgiving Alaska defense, getting thrown out with 6:37 left after a meaningless second motion on RJ Jazul for his second technical foul.
Alaska held the Batang Pier to 26 first half points. The Aces gave up 27 in the third quarter that had GlobalPort erasing a 10-point halftime deficit but regrouped to stymie GlobalPort in the fourth.
“Other than [today’s] third quarter, our defensive energy has been there,” added Compton, who is seeking to make the Finals of this tournament for the second straight season and go all the way this time after finishing second to San Miguel Beer last year.
Game 4 is slated tomorrow.
Meanwhile, June Mar Fajardo has been such a dominant force for the Beermen in their semifinal series against Rain or Shine.
Surprisingly, Painters coach Yeng Guiao wants it that way.
Fajardo played for 40 minutes, shooting 38 points and hauling down 17 rebounds in Game 2 on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But the hulking superstar looked so spent in the stretch he missed five consecutive crucial free throws.
The Beermen went on to lose, 97-105, as the Elasto Painters leveled their series at 1-1.
“We’re hoping that we can take them to a Game 7,” Guiao told reporters. “In that way, siguro naman, lantang gulay na s’ya nun (he would have been fagged out).
Game 3 of their series is slated today at 7 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
ALASKA 82—Manuel 16, Jazul 12, Banchero 10, Casio 10, Abueva 9, Hontiveros 9, Exciminiano 4, Baguio 3, Menk 3, Baclao 2, Dela Cruz 2, Thoss 2, Dela Rosa 0.
GLOBALPORT 69—Romeo 17, Pringle 12, Kramer 11, Washington 7, Sumang 6, Yeo 6, Jensen 5, Maierhofer 5, Mamaril 0, Peña 0, Semerad 0, Uyloan 0.
Quarters: 26-13, 36-26, 53-53, 82-69