Lucky breaks gives Alaska added boost in their quest to win the franchise’s first PBA Philippine Cup since 2000.
CUBAO, PHILIPPINES – The Alaska Aces got Lady Luck on their side again.
San Miguel swingman Ronald Tubid got open twice on the same right corner for wide three point shots – the first to knot the game at 80-all with 1:47 left in the game, but left a crucial one with seven seconds left and Alaska up by one, 81-80, short.
Alaska eventually sealed the game on two free throws and thwarted an excellent second half from San Miguel to go up 2-0 following the 83-80 win in Game 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Following the game, Alaska Head Coach Alex Compton – though exhibiting his usual jolly self – was not amused by his team’s defensive lapses on San Miguel’s kickout plays.
“That’s what we call as our ‘screw up and pray’ defense. We’ve been working on that for a while. Our prayers are just strong. That’s it,” said Compton with a laugh. “I was not happy to see him [Tubid] open. If you could have seen my thought bubble, it would have been a giant ‘No!’ But we were really fortunate.”
“In both games, I think San Miguel has done a fantastic job and we’re just fortunate to get away with a win. That team doesn’t give up. That’s a team of winners and great players. They just had a couple of shots that didn’t fall and we had shots that fell [late in the game].
Vic Manuel, seen as the early candidate for finals most valuable player, did most of the damage underneath and scored 18 points with seven rebounds for Alaska. Dondon Hontiveros fired 12, while Cyrus Baguio added 10 for the Aces.
Game 3 is set this Friday, January 22 at 7:00 p.m. (GMT+8), at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City.
Alaska held its biggest lead of the second half at seven, 51-44, midway through the third. But they had to brace for a storm brought about by San Miguel gunner Alex Cabagnot, who exploded for 10 points in the third quarter to keep the Beermen in the game.
Cabagnot’s heroics sparked a tight fourth quarter battle, where neither team managed to pull away with a lead larger than three points in the last three minutes of play in a very spirited finish, only for San Miguel to come up short in the end.
For the game, Cabagnot finished with 23 points on four triples. Yancy de Ocampo –taking over the place of an injured June Mar Fajardo – and Marcio Lassiter each added 13 for San Miguel.