Alaska clips TNT to force quarters rubber match
MANILA, Philippines – The Alaska Aces forced a winner-take-all game 3 in the best-of-3 quarterfinals after withstanding defending champions Tropang TNT, 85-81, in the 2016 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Tuesday, April 19, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rob Dozier tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Aces, who were on the brink of elimination after losing game 1 of the series.
Calvin Abueva had 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists off the bench as Sonny Thoss also scored 15 to go with 8 rebounds. RJ Jazul, whose steady playmaking and aggressivenes steered Alaska in the fourth, added 10 markers.
"I'm so happy with the way we defended," head coach Alex Compton said.
Import David Simon, who appeared to have injured his knee in the third quarter but went back in the game, posted 31 points and 15 rebounds. Jayson Castro had a double-double of 17 points and 11 assists while Ranidel De Ocampo chipped in 15 markers and 4 boards.
The Aces built a 13-point lead coming off the break with an 11-0 burst but the Tropa settled back down and reclaimed the advantage early in the fourth.
Abueva knocked down a jumper to knot things up at 77 with under 4 minutes remaining and later on shoved Alaska ahead for good, 80-79.
TNT had a chance to steal the win in the final seconds, down only 83-81, as Troy Rosario launched a wide open corner triple. But it bounced off the ring and over the backboard and Jazul sealed the win with a pair of charities.
"My heart dropped to basement 5 parking when he (Rosario) was open," Compton admitted. "That scared the life out of me."
Game 3 of this series will be on Friday, April 22. The winner will earn the right to face Meralco in a best-of-5 semifinals.
Alaska (85): Dozier 18, Thoss 15, Abueva 15, Jazul 10, Dela Cruz 9, Baguio 7, Manuel 4, Hontiveros 3, Banchero 2, Exciminiano 2, Baclao 0, Menk 0.
TNT (81): Simon 31, Castro 17, De Ocampo 15, Rosario 8, Tautuaa 7, Ababou 3, Fonacier 0, Rosser 0, Reyes R. 0, Reyes J. 0, Williams 0.
Quarter scores: 20-16, 40-38, 67-63, 85-81.