Aces wrest 2-1 edge over E-Painters
Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - December 23, 2014 - 12:00am

Game today (MOA Arena)

7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Talk n Text

 

MANILA, Philippines - Alaska Milk took control right in the opening period then endured a bruising battle through the next three quarters to subdue Rain or Shine, 94-78, for a 2-1 lead in their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal series at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City last night.

Beaten at the start of both Games One and Two, the Aces turned things around this time then held their ground in a rugged showdown that saw tempers flare, elbows fly and bodies sprawl on the floor.

While the Elasto Painters lost coach Yeng Guiao and Beau Belga on technical fouls, the Aces kept their cool throughout the highly physical contest and finished composed to clinch the crucial victory.

Calvin Abueva, Eric Menk, Cyrus Baguio and Jvee Casio composed a Big Four that made the big difference for the Aces.

Abueva delivered a career-high 28 points that went with 14 rebounds, Menk came through with his own double-double game with 13 markers and 11 boards while Baguio and Casio combined for 22 points, six rebounds and five assists.

 But for coach Alex Compton, it’s all about defense.

“I thought our defense was really good – sort of the key for us in this conference. Look, we gave up only 27 points in the first half,” said Compton.

From a 10-all count, the Aces unleashed a 14-2 run to take the opening quarter at 24-12 then sustained the charge to go to the halftime huddle with a comfortable 42-27 spread.

There was no stopping Alaska at resumption with the Aces keeping an efficient pressing defense and outgunning the Elasto Painters in the next two quarters.

The Aces didn’t back down from the physical game either.

No easy fouls were given as the two teams engaged in a rugged match from the start.

Three technical fouls were called right in the first half. A few minutes into the third quarter, Guiao and Belga headed to the dugout with their second “Ts.”

Still, the Elasto Painters refused to give up, but neither the Aces who took the third at 65-57 then led by as many as 18 points at 92-74 before completing the win.

With their untiring pressing “D”, the Aces held the E-Painters to a mere 32.9-percent clip.

Alaska’s aggressiveness was also very evident as the Aces battered the E-Painters, 16-2, on offensive rebounds and, 17-2, on second-chance points.

 For Rain or Shine, the lone bright spot was sophomore center Raymond Almazan who scored a team-high 20 points.

Alaska could have scored a bigger rout if not for 15 free throw misses.

 

NOTES: The PBA is giving its fans a special treat on Christmas Day by opening the General Admission section of the MOA Arena for free during Game Four of the RoS-Alaska showdown. Ticket distribution is on a first-come-first-serve basis. “This is one way of saying thanks to the basketball fans. This special free tickets offer is for all of you our beloved fans. Bring the family on Christmas Day,” said PBA board chairman Patrick Gregorio.

The scores:

ALASKA 94 – Abueva 28, Menk 13, Baguio 11, Casio 11, Manuel 6, Banchero 5, Thoss 5, Hontiveros 5, Jazul 5, Dela Cruz 5, Eman 0, Dela Rosa 0, Exciminiano 0. 

RAIN OR SHINE 78 – Almazan 20, Lee 14, Belga 9, Norwood 8, Chan 6, Cruz 6, Ibanes 5, Quinahan 4, Uyloan 3, Arana 2, Tang 1.

Quarterscores: 24-12, 42-27, 65-57, 94-78

ABUEVA ACES ALASKA MILK ALEX COMPTON BAGUIO AND CASIO BIG FOUR CALVIN ABUEVA CHRISTMAS DAY CYRUS BAGUIO AND JVEE CASIO ELASTO PAINTERS
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