Asian Games

Alaska escapes Meralco, sets up finals duel with Rain or Shine

Jane Bracher
Alaska escapes Meralco, sets up finals duel with Rain or Shine

Josh Albelda

The Aces are looking to end a series of bridesmaid finishes in the past year

MANILA, Philippines – The Alaska Aces foiled the Meralco Bolts’ dreams of a breakthrough as they escaped with a 76-70 victory in the deciding Game 5 of the semifinals in the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday, May 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Calvin Abueva was Best Player of the Game anew with a game-high 19 points and 8 rebounds as the Aces foiled what could have been the Bolts’ first-ever finals appearance since joining the league in 2010.

Chris Banchero had 18 points while Rob Dozier contributed 14 markers and 18 boards despite foul trouble.

Alaska capitalized on a couple of key Meralco turnovers down the stretch, and overcame a 66-67 deficit with 3 minutes to go on the strength of steady free throw shooting. Alaska’s last 8 points came from the stripe.

“I’m proud of the guys,” said head coach Alex Compton, who noted his team “embraced the pain, grieved, and we moved on” from the heartbreaking loss to the Beermen last conference.

Alaska has a chance to redeem itself from that painful finals defeat in the Philippine Cup where they lost 4 straight to San Miguel after taking a 3-0 series lead.

Jared Dillinger led the Bolts with 18 points with 10 coming in the fourth to go with 5 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Arinza Onuaku had 15 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists and two steals while Baser Amer chipped in 12 markers.

Meralco had to adjust on the fly as guard Jimmy Alapag injured his hand midway in the opening quarter. Alapag, who is tasked to stabilize the team on the court, never returned to the game and later emerged from the locker room with his left hand heavily wrapped. He thinks he may have broken it and went straight to the hospital to get it checked.

The Aces, who are looking to end a series of bridesmaid finishes from 3 of the last 4 conferences, will face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in a best-of-7 finals series starting Friday.


Alaska (76): Abueva 19, Banchero 18, Dozier 14, Jazul 9, Thoss 8, Baclao 5, Hontiveros 3, Baguio 0, Dela Cruz 0, Exciminiano 0.

Meralco (70): Dillinger 18, Onuaku 15, Amer 12, Hodge 9, Caram 6, Faundo 4, Hugnatan 4, Newsome 2, Alapag 0, Bono 0, Buenafe Ry 0.

Quarter scores: 22-22, 37-39, 56-50, 76-70.


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