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Alaska hangs on against Rain or Shine for third straight win



The matchup of the first two conference’s bridesmaid finishers saw the Alaska Aces survive the late rampage put up by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and came up victorious with 94-93, while grabbing their third straight win on Friday evening at the Ynares Center in Antipolo city.

The first half was a battle of runs and exchanges as no team led by more than eight points. Alaska had the upper hand in the majority of the first 24 minutes but had no clear grip momentum-wise due to rallies put up by RoS. In the 7:15 mark of the first canto, Coach Yeng Guiao was assessed for a technical foul for resentment to a call. Two free throws by Calvin Abueva gave the Aces a small early edge.

The lead quickly shifted to the Elasto Painters at 14-12 with a Wendell McKines triple. However, the shot from downtown was responded by a long-ranged hoop by Dondon Hontiveros. The exchange of points by both team was the whole theme for the first half. Vic Manuel knocked down two shots from the paint that gave Alaska a three-point lead after the first period.

In the second period, the turnovers started to pile up and haunt the Commissioner’s Cup second placers as they let the transition game of the Aces come to full display. Hontiveros and Manuel scored quickly in transition that gave Alaska a 31-23 advantage. However, Rain or Shine countered with their own 11-3 run to tie things up at 34, thanks to their big men who made their presence felt. After the deadlock, the teams rushed to four lead changes on the next plays as Rain or Shine went to the locker rooms at the break, up only by a solitary point.

The defense on Alaska’s reinforcement Romeo Travis was superb during the first half that carried on until the start of the third. Travis struggled getting his groove in this game, unlike in his first two games wherein he shot a near 70% clip from the field. However, his and-one play jump started a fast 8-2 run to give Alaska the lead once again. The rally included a wide open triple by JVee Casio while the Elasto Painters shot horribly from the foul line. Two triples by RJ Jazul and a fast break completed by Chris Banchero made it a 74-61 game. Rain or Shine shot poorly from the foul stripe during that stretch that helped the Aces keep their lead.

A tremendous start to the fourth period was showcased by the Painters as Jericho Cruz and Raymond Almazan combined for an 8-0 run to slice the lead down to five. A dozen-point lead was quickly restored by Alaska with Travis anchoring the charge while Rain or Shine struggled making baskets.

After, it was the Painters turn to build on a rally of their own to stun the Alaska team with JR Quiñahan knocking down a huge triple to give Rain or Shine back the lead at 85-84 with six minutes to go in the game. The massive run was extended with a Paul Lee jumper to extend their gap.

Alaska responded, giving them the last laugh in the game as they outscored Rain or Shine 10-6 in the game’s last three minutes. The dying minutes featured two baskets by Sonny Thoss late to give them the lead and Alaska’s clobbering defense against the driving Paul Lee to thwart his potential game winner.

Despite the turnover disparity during the first half, Rain or Shine ended up committing less errors at the end of the game, 23-24. In addition, the Painters scored more on the break 20-8, but Alaska was flawless from the free throw area unlike RoS, who had 13 misses.

Travis ended up scoring 23 points to lead his team in scoring but needed 22 shots for it. He also had 13 boards and five assists. Jazul added 14 including three shots from downton. On the other hand, McKines tallied 24 markers and had 14 rebounds.

Alaska’s next game will be up against the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters on Monday, 7pm still at the Ynares Center. On the other hand, Rain or Shine will troop to Dubai as they play back-to-back games against GlobalPort and Ginebra on Thursday and Friday respectively.

The scores:

Alaska (94) – Travis 23, Jazul 14, Manuel 13, Casio 11, Hontiveros 10, Abueva 7, Thoss 4, Exciminiano 2, Menk 2, Dela Cruz 0, Baguio 0

Rain or Shine (93) – McKines 24, Cruz 16, Lee 13, Quiñahan 8, Almazan 8, Cruz 6, Norwood 6, Tang 5, Belga 3, Ibañes 2, Uyloan 2

Quarters: 24-21, 42-43, 77-64, 94-93

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