Star sends Alaska to longest losing streak in franchise history
Paul Lintag on May 31, 2017 10:21 PM
Star completed a 21-point comeback to frustrate Alaska, giving the Aces a seventh straight defeat, the longest in franchise history.
In a normal game, Calvin Abueva making three straight clutch plays would have resulted in a sure Alaska win.
This wasn't a normal game.
Despite the Beast's heroics in overtime, Star managed to complete a 21-point comeback to beat the Aces, 102-98, Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome for the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
After losing a 21-point lead, Alaska appeared to regain control in extra time as Abueva completed a series of clutch plays to should've helped preserve a one-point lead by the Aces.
Down 96-97, Abueva drew an offensive foul on Paul Lee before converting on a tough layup with 51 seconds to go to give the Aces the lead.
In the following offensive sequence by the Hotshots, Abueva blocked a driving layup by Mark Barroca but Star managed to retain possession and Lee found Justin Melton for a long three for a 100-98 advantage.
It was the second long three connected by the Hotshots in the final 1:34 of overtime after Lee himself buried one from way out to give Star a 97-93 edge.
Alaska failed to answer back in the last 26 seconds as the Aces absorbed their seventh straight loss for a 4-7 record. It's the longest losing skid in franchise history.
"Before the start of this game, I talked to my players [and said] that it's a grind out game. I know Alaska will come up strong," head coach Chito Victolero said as his team improved to 9-2 on the strength of a five-game winning streak.
The Aces did come up strong, starting the game on a 20-6 run and putting up a lead as many as 21 points in the third period, 73-52.
But from that point on, the Hotshots responded with a 34-8 blast, taking over late in the fourt period with their biggest lead of the game at five points, 86-81.
Behind Cory Jefferson's back-to-back treys, Alaska would tie things up at 89 but his final attempt for the win in regulation was way out.
Ricardo Ratliffe led the Hotshots with 35 points and 28 rebounds, submitting another strong performance in his return to Star.
Lee and Melton added 18 and 12 points respectively as they now await their final playoff seeding. Despite finishing with the league's best record, there's a chance Star will not end up in the top two although Star is assured of at least a top three at the end of the elimination round.
Abueva was the high man for Alaska with 22 while Jefferson added 21 and 13 rebounds. The Aces will also wait for their final playoff scenario although Alaska will most likely have to go through a playoff for the 8th seed.
STAR 102 - Ratliffe 35, Lee 18, Melton 12, Sangalang 10, Jalalon 7, Ramos 7, Reavis 4, Simon 4, Maliksi 3, Barroca 2, Abundo 0, Brondial 0.
ALASKA 98 - Abueva 22, Jefferson 21, Banchero 19, Racal 13, Thoss 9, Manuel 6, Exciminiano 4, Enciso 2, Hontiveros 2, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0.
Quarterscores: 14-26, 34-47, 56-73, 89-89, 102-98.
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