MANILA – Alaska held Rain or Shine scoreless in the final two minutes to escape a hard-earned 79-76 victory on Game Six of the semifinals on Sunday night to advance in the PBA Philippine Cup finals at the Araneta Coliseum.
It was the Aces’ 27th finals appearance in the Asia’s first professional basketball league.
Veteran Dondon Hontiveros came out unstoppable from the three-point area, hitting all his five triples in the fourth quarter, including two in the final two minutes that helped the Aces clinched the series at 4-2.
”I was not expecting that (5 triples). I just played hard, played what we practiced,” said Hontieros who returned to the All-Filipino Cup finals against his former team San Miguel Beer.
The Beermen swept Talk ‘N Text in the other semifinals affair.
The Elasto Painters rallied in the third quarter and entered the fourth quarter with 60-56 lead but they failed to stop Hontiveros who finished with 17 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter.
Actually, the Elasto Painters had the upperhand, 76-73, on a three-pointer by Jeff Chan going into the final two minutes but Chan missed two triples including one that could have sent the game into overtime.
”I’m happy for my players. They played intense defense. We kept our identity that we played first good defense and we showed the character of our team,” Alaska coach Alex Compton said.
Calvin Abueva also played big with near double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 9 rebounds while Sonny Thoss added 11 points for the Aces.
Chan topscored with 14 points while Raymond Almazan completed the Rain or Shine’s only two players in double-digit output with 11 points.
The best-of-seven championship round will start on Wednesday.
ALASKA 79 – Hontiveros 17, Abueva 15, Thoss 11, Baguio 6, Manuel 6, Menk 6, Jazul 5, Exciminiano 4, Dela Cruz 4, Casio 3, Banchero 2, Eman 0, Dela Rosa 0, Espinas 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 76 – Chan 14, Almazan 11, Uyloan 9, Arana 9, Belga 9, Lee 7, Ibanes 6, Norwood 4, Tang 4, Quinahan 3, Teng 0, Tiu 0, Cruz 0.
The quarterscores: 20-16, 36-28, 56-60, 79-76.