Jefferson outduels Taggart as Alaska remains perfect

Paul Lintag on Apr 02, 2017 06:58 PM
Jefferson outduels Taggart as Alaska remains perfect
Cory Jefferson and the Aces kept their unbeaten slate at the expense of defending champion Rain or Shine.

In an epic battle of the imports, Cory Jefferson had the last laugh because one of his locals actually made some shots in the end to bail him out.

Alaska remained unbeaten in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup, taking a wild 105-102 victory over defending champion Rain or Shine Sunday at the Big Dome.

After the Elasto Painters came back from a 14-point deficit to turn the game into a dogfight in the fourth quarter, Jefferson and Shawn Taggart engaged in a shootout that set up an exciting finish in the rematch of last year's Finals.

With momentum on their side after a late 11-0 run to finally take the lead, the Elasto Painters took a 97-93 advantage inside the last two minutes courtesy of Taggart.

However, the Aces would come back as Jefferson fired two treys to give Alaska a slim two-point lead, 101-99, with 30 seconds to go. That's when the locals stepped in as JVee Casio proved to be slightly more reliable than Mike Tolomia, allowing Alaska to hold on for the win via the free throw line, calmy making four straight from the stripe.

Tolomia, who committed a crucial turnover with 23 seconds left, had a chance to redeem himself but his final attempt from deep to force overtime was a little bit too strong.

"Gosh what a game. I don't know what you guys felt. I told our guys this game might come down to the last possession, I told them that in practice. There's so many threats out there," head coach Alex Compton said as his team rolled to a 4-0 start.

Jefferson led the Aces with 41 points, 28 in the second half, and 13 rebounds. Casio added 16 off the bench while Sonny Thoss was good for 15 points. Calvin Abueva, who was in fould trouble all game long, managed 10 points.

For Rain or Shine, who has now lost back-to-back games after a 3-0 start, Taggart finally found his touch on offense, going for 40 points, 24 in the second half, on 70 percent shooting. He also added 11 boards.

However, only one other Elasto Painter finished in double figures as Jericho Cruz led all ROS locals with 11 points.


The Scores: 

ALASKA 105 - Jefferson 41, Casio 16, Thoss 15, Abueva 11, Racal 6, Enciso 5, Exciminiano 3, Andrada 3, Pascual 2, Cruz 2, Mendoza 1. 

RAIN OR SHINE 102 - Taggart 40, Cruz 11, Tolomia 9, Yap 8, Norwood 8, Chan 7, Belga 6, Almazan 4, Washington 4, Tiu 3, Ponferada 2, Ahanmisi 0.

Quarters: 26-29, 50-44, 80-71, 105-102.


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