Alaska gains semifinals; No. 8 GlobalPort forces decider vs top-ranked ROS
With 66 seconds left, a female fan at the lower box section of Smart Araneta Coliseum danced while holding aloft a sign that read “Hello Semis.”
Indeed, it has been a while for Alaska, a traditional Philippine Basketball Association powerhouse which had to sit on pins and needles in the fourth quarter before pulling off an 89-78 victory over Magnolia on Tuesday night that gave the Aces their first PBA Final Four berth after two seasons.
It was truly special, considering that the Aces have been through a lot in the Commissioner’s Cup like the Calvin Abueva suspension, change of import, among others.
“I missed the semis, we usually had a good relationship, the semis and Alaska,” coach Alex Compton told reporters after the Aces almost blew a 16-point lead to open up the fourth. “I’m just so proud of the team after all [the adversities] that we went through.”
Vic Manuel scored 22 points and Chris Banchero added 14 for Alaska, which snagged the first Final Four slot despite going scoreless in the first four minutes of the fourth and making just 11 in the entire payoff frame.
Wayne Chism led the Hotshots with 20, shooting eight in the fourth to help Magnolia close to within four. Ian Sangalang was the only other player in twin digits for the Hotshots with 14 as the Alaska defense forced Magnolia’s big guns out of their sweet spots.
Earlier, Jonathan Grey knocked down the game-winning triple from deep right corner that gave GlobalPort a 114-113 squeaker over top-ranked Rain or Shine, sending their quarterfinal duel to a deciding game at Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday.
GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio was prepared to coach his final game this conference.
“That was a lucky shot,” said a smiling Jarencio. “I thought we wouldn’t be having practice anymore [on Wednesday]. I honestly didn’t think that we could win this game.”
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