Alaska rallies past Barako Bull to keep Top Four hopes alive
The Alaska Aces snapped a two-game slide the hard way last night, putting up a gritty endgame performance to outlast the Barako Bull Energy Colas, 91-89, in the 38th PBA Governors’ Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The win kept Alaska’s hopes of earning a Top Four spot alive, tying the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters for the fourth and fifth spots with similar 4-4 (win-loss) cards.
Alaska still has one game left against the Air21 Express. The Energy Colas capped their elimination round campaign with four wins and five losses, ending the first round on a three-game losing streak.
The Energy Colas repeatedly threatened to pull away in the fourth period but the Aces kept coming back. In the end, the Aces were rewarded with the huge win.
Barako Bull built a 72-64 lead early in the fourth period but Alaska sliced the deficit at 71-74 with 7:22 to go.
The Energy Colas kept the Aces at bay with four straight points to post a 78-71 lead but the Aces battled back again with Cyrus Baguio converting a three-point play and Dondon Hontiveros sinking a three-pointer, pushing Alaska to within 77-78.
Barako Bull quickly doused the Alaska rally as Ronjay Buenafe converted a layup then hit a three-pointer after a turnover by Alaska import Wendell Mckines.
With Alaska down, 77-83, McKines committed another turnover that led to two free throws by Michael Singletary as the Energy Colas took an 85-77 lead with only 3:26 left.
The Aces, however, proved they weren’t done yet as Jvee Casio nailed back-to-back trifectas that made it 83-85.
Danny Seigle hit two free throws for the Barako Bull but Cyrus Baguio sank a triple as the Aces inched closer, 86-87, exactly two minutes remaining.
After an empty Barako Bull possession, the Aces finally wrested the lead when Tony dela Cruz hit a baseline jumper for an 88-87 advantage.
Alaska had the chance to pad the lead but McKines committed yet another turnover after losing the ball on his way to the basket inside the final 40 seconds.
The turnover netted a technical foul on Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo, who complained that McKines was hit in the arm before losing the ball. Buenafe missed the technical free throw but the Emergy Colas still stole the lead when Singletary hit a layup with 23.5 seconds left.
Alaska then outworked Barako Bull in the final seconds.
McKines missed a shot in the paint but Dela Cruz cornered the offensive rebound and was fouled while attempting a putback.
With 14.5 seconds left, Dela Cruz hit the first three throw to tie the contest at 89-all. He missed the second attempt but McKines gobbled up the offensive rebound before hitting two free throws as the Aces took a 91-89 lead, 12.9 seconds remaining.
Alaska then threw a choking defensive blanket at the Barako Bull, who initially went for Singletary. Dondon Hontiveros, however, covered Singletary well, forcing the import to pass the ball to Celino Cruz, who then found Buenafe from the left wing.
Buenafe had a clear look but missed a potential game-wining triple at the buzzer.
ALASKA (91)- McKines 21 , Baguio 15, Casio 14, Espinas 11, Thoss 8, Abueva 7, Hontiveros 7, Jazul 5, Dela Cruz 3.
BARAKO BULL (89)- Singletary 38, Buenafe 12, Seigle 11, Weinstein 7, Villanueva 7, Pennisi 7, Intal 3, Macapagal 2, Cruz 2, Marcelo 0, Jensen 0.
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