Published on page A24 of the November 27, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
ALASKA won a third straight game last night with Tim Cone now likening two of his Aces with the two most important pieces that made the Chicago Bulls one of the greatest teams of all time.
In a game which he later on described as his team?s best in the Talk ?N Text-PBA Philippine Cup, Cone?s Aces brought down Red Bull, 105-94, to sustain their steady climb in the elimination round at the expense of another powerhouse victim.
And the keys to their fourth win in five games and fifth in 12 outings overall, Cone said, have been Tony dela Cruz playing like Scottie Pippen and former MVP Willie Miller ?learning to play Michael Jordan?s wing position? in the famed triangle offense of the Bulls.
Dela Cruz scored eight of his team-high 18 points in the fourth period and Miller scattered 14 while holding the Alaska offense together as the Aces tied idle Air21 in seventh spot.
Talk ?N Text handed Coca-Cola its sixth straight defeat, 100-86, in the second game. The Phone Pals improved their record to 7-6 while the Tigers slipped to 3-10.
Red Bull, which came into the game deadlocked with idle Barangay Ginebra for second spot, slipped to 8-5, and to solo third place.
John Ferriols was also a key factor in the Alaska surge, shooting 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, which, Cone said, has been basically the way the 6-foot-4 forward has been performing of late.
?You don?t see much of his name in the papers,? Cone said. ?But John has just stepped up for us and is actually making up for the absence of two players (Reynel Hugnatan, who is injured, and Don Allado, who was traded to Talk ?N Text).?
The Aces took the Araneta Coliseum floor with all guns cocked and firing, racing to leads of as many as 14 points in the first period with Ferriols contributing his first nine markers in that stretch.
Ferriols hit his final bucket at the 9:08 mark in the fourth period to usher the Aces to an 86-70 lead, before the rest of the team cooled off a raging Red Bull comeback that had the Barako coming within six points.
Miller, after missing two free throws, hit a running jumper off the glass, and Dela Cruz, whom Cone said is now ?playing with a purpose out there,? restored a double-digit Alaska lead by canning a wide open jumper, 94-84.
ALASKA 105 -- Dela Cruz 18, Ferriols 17, Belasco 16, Miller 14, Cariaso 14, Singson 7, Thoss 6, Laure 6, Juinio 5, Aban 2.
RED BULL 94 -- Fonacier 18, Pennisi 15, Sharma 14, Valenzuela 13, Najorda 8, Bugia 7, Baguio 6, Villanueva 5, Cruz 4, Alvarez 2, Robinson 2, Ybanez 0.
Quarters: 36-22, 57-49, 79-68, 105-94.
TALK N TEXT 100 -- Ritualo 24, Taulava 14, Allado 14, Cardona 11, Washington 10, Alapag 10, Carey 8, Belano 5, Andaya 2, Pablo 2, Fran 0
COCA-COLA 86 -- Yeo 25, Arigo 15, Miranda 13, Pacana 12, Peek 12, Salangsang 5, Misolas 5, Antonio 5, Gavino 2, Enrile 2, Ramos 0
Quarters: 25-23, 44-47, 71-62, 100-86