Alaska import Dozier leads Aces to close victory over Meralco
Import Robert Dozier made his presence felt on both ends of the court to lead the unbeaten Alaska Aces to a hard-earned, 85-81 win over the Meralco Bolts last night in the 38th PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Dozier coughed up a game-high 27 points, most of them coming from the charity stripe where he went 16-of-18. The 6-foot-10 import also had 14 rebounds and six blocked shots as the Aces tied the Barako Bull Energy Colas at the number one spot with identical 2-0 (win-loss) slates.
While Dozier gave Alaska a huge lift, Meralco’s import Eric Dawson was a big disappointment.
After scoring 37 markers in their impressive, 99-92 win over the mighty Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters the last time out, the Kevin Durant look-alike Dawson struggled for just 15 points on a paltry five-for-16 shooting from the field.
Interestingly, Dawson was Alaska’s original choice for import but he refused to sign up with the team, prompting the Aces to bring in Dozier.
As bad as Dawson played, the Bolts still had a chance of stealing the win.
Meralco trailed by as many as 13 points but briefly stole the lead in the third period, 62-60.
Alaska retook the lead at the end of the third, 63-62, and protected the small cushion the rest of the way.
A three-pointer by Ronjay Buenafe shoved the Bolts within 78-82 in the final 1:33. Jvee Casio missed two free throws and although the Bolts bungled two straight possessions, the Aces still failed to put the game away quickly as Cyrus Baguio split his two gift shots.
Calvin Abueva and Baguio helped the Aces’ cause by contributing 20 and 16 markers, respectively.
Manuel paced the Bolts with 18 markers, Buenafe pitched 14 while Mark Cardona had 11.
Buenafe and Cardona combined for 35 points in Meralco’s victory over Talk N’ Text.
ALASKA (85)- Dozier 27, Abueva 20, Baguio 16, Casio 8, Espinas 6, Thoss 6, Dela Cruz 2, Ramos 0, Jazul 0, Eman 0, Hontiveros 0, Belasco 0.
MERALCO (81)- Manuel 18, Dawson 15, Buenafe 14, Cardona 11, Ross 6, Hugnatan 5, Hodge 4, Artadi 4, Guevarra 2, Borboran 2, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0. QUARTERSCORES: 26-21, 47-39, 63-62, 85-81.
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