Aces do the improbable, take Game 3
Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - January 12, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - In yet another game with many twists and turns, Alaska Milk worked on an improbable 26-point turnaround in the fourth period and shocked San Miguel Beer, 78-70, for the 2-1 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven title playoff at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Badly beaten in the middle quarters, the Aces turned the game around on an unbelievable fourth-quarter siege and regained the series upper hand following an amazing victory much like their 88-82 triumph in Game One.

Salvaging Game One after falling behind by 22 points, the Aces pulled off virtually the same trick, fighting back from 21 points this time to win another bruising contest before a crowd of over 23,000.

“To be honest, I have no idea,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton on how they won the game where they trailed by 21 at 40-61 and still faced a huge deficit, 46-64, at the start of the last quarter.

Compton gave all the credit to his players who put up tremendous effort on both ends and, in a huge sudden twist, battered the Beermen, 32-6, in the payoff period.

The Aces held the Beermen to their least output and worst field-shooting (1-of-15) in a game in a titular series.

“In some point I was telling coach Louie (Alas), San Miguel is really beating us. We tried different things in the first three quarters to match up with them, but they’re just beating us. They (the Beermen) were sharp and they were good,” said Compton.

“At the fourth, I just told the guys ibuhos na natin. We try to cut it down to 10 or 12 points in the first six minutes. And they did better than that,” Compton added. “I’m completely not a genius. I didn’t call magical shots. The guys did everything.”

San Miguel coach Leo Austria took full responsibility for their meltdown although he said: “I kept reminding the guys what to do and we still committed turnovers.”

“I thought we prepared hard, but I’m not the one playing on the court. I can only do so much,” he said.

Sonny Thoss, Calvin Abueva, Jvee Casio, Dondon Hontiveros, Cyrus Baguio, Chris Exciminiano and RJ Jazul provided solid support in  a fourth-quarter coup where only Alex Cabagnot was able to score a field goal  for the other side.

Abueva outrebounded the entire SMB team, 10-8, in the last 12 minutes of play, and he finished with double-double numbers with 16 points and 15 rebounds while Casio and Thoss added 11 and 10 markers, respectively.

Hontiveros banged in back-to-back three-pointers while Exciminiano had his own clutch plays, including a drive and two charities that eventually sent Alaska ahead at 66-65.

And as in Game One, the Aces proved much composed and determined as they beat out the Beermen at endgame.

 Starting with a zero-of-nine three-point shooting, the Beermen never stopped firing and soon found their range, unloading a barrage as they took control in the second quarter.

The Beermen opened a 21-point lead, 61-40, on torrid attacks in the second and third periods highlighted by nine three-point bombs, and SMB looked headed for a breakaway win until Alaska did the unthinkable.

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