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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — The title hopes of the Alaska Aces remain alive.
Toughened up by their many battles of the past, Alaska refused to die without a fight, defeating the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game 5, 86-78, to extend the finals anew in the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday, May 15 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces’ vaunted defense was on full display as they shut down their foes, limiting to the Painters to under 80 points for the first time in the last 4 conferences. They had been down 0-3 in the best-of-7 series but have now won two games in a row to keep their hopes of a massive upset alive.
Calvin Abueva finished with a game-high 20 points despite going one-of-6 in the first half. He also had 13 rebounds and two blocks on top of scoring back-to-back big baskets down the stretch to keep the Painters at bay.
Rob Dozier contributed 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks, while RJ Jazul chipped in 13 points, 4 assists, and 6 boards. Dondon Hontiveros and Cyrus Baguio had 12 and 11 points, respectively, as Alaska looks to pull off a miracle similar to what its old nemesis San Miguel Beer did to them in the Philippine Cup.
Jeff Chan topscored for the Painters with 17 points while Paul Lee wound up with 16 as Rain or Shine cooled off from long range.
JR Quiñahan and Beau Belga had just 9 and 4 points, respectively. Belga fouled out with over 4 minutes remaining.
Rookie Maverick Ahanmisi was also shackled to just a point coming off a career-high 30 points in Game 4. He missed all 4 of his field goal attempts.
Import Pierre Henderson-Niles had only 6 points with 8 rebounds as he went 3-of-9 from the field.
The Painters, who are looking for their first title in 4 years, attempted only 11 free throws and made 8 all game long, but gave up 27 free throw attempts to the Aces, who sank 23 of them.
After tallying 11 offensive rebounds at halftime, Rain or Shine had only one in the second half as Alaska wrested control of the boards.
Game 6 of this series is on Wednesday, May 18.
Alaska (86): Abueva 20, Dozier 14, Jazul 13, Hontiveros 12, Baguio 11, Banchero 6, Racal 5, Baclao 2, Thoss 2, Dela Rosa 1.
Rain or Shine (78): Chan 17, Lee 16, Quinahan 9, Cruz 8, Ponferada 8, Henderson Niles 6, Norwood 5, Belga 4, Almazan 2, Ibanes 2, Ahanmisi 1, Tiu 0.
Quarter scores: 15-19, 37-40, 56-57, 86-78.