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Tiebreaker Times

Comeback masters: Aces turn tables again to regain series lead

It felt like Game 1 all over again as the Alaska Aces completed a masterful comeback over the San Miguel Beermen earlier at the Big Dome to take Game 3 of the finals. The Uytengsu-owned franchise pulled off a 78-70 victory despite being down by as much as 21 in the third period. Three Aces scored in double digits in a less bloody match as they held off the Beermen to just six fourth quarter points.

Calvin Abueva again spearheaded the Aces’ comeback with numerous dishes in the endgame. He finished the game with a 16-15-5 stat line in points, boards, and assists to go with one blocked shot. Sonny Thoss, who was the brightest stop in Game 2, scored 10 markers while JVee Casio added 11.

After a lackluster defensive showing in Game 2, the Alaska Aces showed up with their A-game from the opening tip. San Miguel though returned the favor and engaged the Aces in a defensive match. The first point of the contest came after almost three minutes of action, courtesy of an Abueva split charity. At the end of the quarter, Alaska led by five as they limited the Beermen to just eight markers on 22% shooting. San Miguel also did not make any three-pointer during the entire opening canto.

In the second period, Alaska gave up 27 points to San Miguel as the Beermen turned a five-point deficit into an eight-point advantage. Bridging the half time, the Beermen continued their surge in the third canto as they managed to build a 21-point advantage before Alaska finished off the quarter at 46-64.

Down by 18 coming into the payoff period, Alaska mounted a huge rally to take the game away from San Miguel. With the Beermen only scoring a single point via a Lutz free throw off an Aces technical foul, Alaska scored 10 straight markers before San Miguel head coach Leo Austria called for time.

After the timeout though, the Aces continued their hot streak as they launched another 10 unanswered points via Dondon Hontiveros and Ping Exciminiano who both scored eight markers in total. That proved to be San Miguel’s downfall as the Aces continually pounded the fast break lanes for quick points and established a more formidable lead.

Arwind Santos led the Beermen once more with 20 points despite shooting 3-of-11 from beyond the arc. He also had 11 boards but was held scoreless the entire fourth period when the Aces mounted their biggest rally.

Game 4 will be on Wednesday, 7pm still at the Big Dome.

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