MANILA – Alaska Aces took the first game of the 2015 PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Wednesday night after defeating San Miguel Beermen, 88-82.
The Beermen led by 22 points. But Aces’ forward Calvin Abueva bounced back with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while rookie Chris Banchero and Dondon Hontiveros chipped in 16 and 15 points, respectively.
“I thought that we had about as bad of a start as we could have in the first quarter and I thought that the credit should go to San Miguel,” said Alaska head coach Alex Compton. “But we really came out flat, it’s like we were the ones who came from a layoff.”
He added, “But in the second half, that’s what I love about these guys. They just never gave up. They kept on chipping away, chipping away and they turned up their intensity. We got contributions from all around. We gave up 27 points in the first quarter and we only gave up 55 points the rest of the way and that’s why we won the game.”
Alaska trailed during the first end, but took over the game at the middle of the fourth canto from a 3-pointer from RJ Jazul. San Miguel tried to reclaim the lead with a shot from beyond the arc from Alex Cabagnot at 3:28 in the last quarter.
It looks like the Beermen already had the momentum. But Hontiveros proved the Beermen wrong by posting an open jumper to give them the lead at 74-73 with 40.8 seconds left.
“In the last possession [in the fourth quarter], we should’ve called a timeout but sometimes the players fail to see how much time is left on the clock,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
Casio gave 13 points for his team. He also gave the Aces the 76-deadlock with 3:08 left in overtime.
Beermen’s reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo had a good start with eight points. However, for the remaining quarters he only made six points because of the pressure coming from the Aces.
Game 2 is scheduled on Friday night at the Big Dome.