In post-season basketball, experience can be a big factor and this series was no exception.
The Alaska Aces muffed their series-opener but managed to take the next four games to close out the series against the young GlobalPort Batang Pier with an emphatic 118-89 close-out win Tuesday evening at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
An aggressive and eager Alaska Aces crew opened up the game on a tear, which led them to an early 13-6 lead. Before Alaska pulled away late in the period, Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle pushed the Batang Pier to tie the game at 15. However and in a blink of an eye, Alaska outscored GlobalPort 12-2 in the last 3:11 of the first behind the efforts of their energetic bench unit.
Despite Alaska’s RJ Jazul committing a deliberate foul, GlobalPort had a tough time snatching the momentum away from the Aces. The Red-and-white crew led by as much as 13 in the second quarter, while managing to cling to this kind of advantage throughout the remainder of the first half. GlobalPort’s Romeo, Pringle and Washington already entered double-figure scoring after 24 minutes, but failed to claw their way back against the loaded Alaska crew.
Roi Sumang and Terrence Romeo penetrated the lane to trim into the Aces lead. However, the Batang Pier’s defense could not hold the sizzling Aces, who answered every mini-rally put up by the Green-and-Black squad. In addition, Alaska’s fastbreak points piled up, as the team held an 14-point cushion heading into the final frame.
Looking to save their season in the last quarter, GlobalPort paraded their main guns to begin it. Unfortunately, Alaska kept on putting the counter against GlobalPort’s attacks. Cyrus Baguio drained a gut-busting three-ball from near 30 feet, while Chris Exciminiano made two easy layups against the Batang Pier’s defense. They even opened the floodgates, as the Aces made successive baskets to blow the game wide open. These, in addition to 50-50 balls going the way of the Aces, told the story of the series-closer as the better and more experienced team prevailed in the blowout.
Alaska’s running game was in full display, scoring 32 points compared to Batang Pier’s 19. In addition, they also had more rebounds and assists, 55-42 and 25-19 respectively.
Chris Exciminiano paced the Aces in Game Five with 19 points on an efficient 8/11 shooting, and five rebounds.
After the game, the lockdown defender shared his excitement after the series, but explains they must not stop now. “Masarap na nakarating kami sa finals pero di pa tapos dito,” Exciminiano said. “For the next Finals, alam naming kailangan namin mag-improve and learn from this para sa next series.”
He added that their teamwork was the main key in powering them this season. “All out. Ayun lang ginagawa namin. We not me,” Exciminiano shared looking forward to the Finals. “We just need to continue our defense, communication and pagiging isa namin as a team. Kailangan namin magpahinga kasi kami laging ma-depensa especially yung press”.
Romeo capped off his Philippine Cup campaign with 20 points on 5/12 shooting, five rebounds, and four assists. Jay Washington led GlobalPort with 26.
The Alaska Aces will wait for the winner of the San Miguel Beermen-Rain or Shine Elasto Painters series. Game One of the 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Finals will either be on Sunday, January 17 or Tuesday, January 19. It is set to be played at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Alaska (118) – Exciminiano 19, Banchero 18, Thoss 14, Abueva 14, Baguio 10, Manuel 10, Menk 9, Jazul 9, Hontiveros 6, Casio 5, Eman 2, Dela Cruz 2, Dela Rosa 0, Eman 0.
GlobalPort (89) – Washington 26, Romeo 20, Pringle 15, Sumang 9, Isip 6, Yeo 6, Jensen 3, Kramer 2, Maierhofer 2, Semerad 0, Pena 0.
Quarterscores: 27-17, 60-51, 87-73, 118-89.
Cover photo from PBA Images
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