PBA: Aces survive Bolts' late game scare to tie series, 1-1
Mark Escarlote on Nov 13, 2018 09:16 PM
Alaska evened the best-of-five 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals series, 1-1, in a close-shaved win over Meralco. (FILE PHOTO)
Alaska weathered Meralco’s comeback scare to escape with a 100-95 Game 2 win to knot the the best-of-five 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals series Tuesday night at the MOA Arena.
The Aces leaned on the steady hands of JVee Casio inside the last 18.5 seconds of the match to put the game away while Simon Enciso, who waxed-hot in the first half, sealed the win from the line and snap the Bolts' seven-game winning streak.
Game 3 is on Thursday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Mike Harris was a workhorse for the Aces as the reinforcement poured in 37 points on 13-of-21 field goal shooting while hauling down 19 rebounds. Enciso scored 23 points while Chris Banchero flirted with a triple double with 13 markers, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Alaska, which missed only one free throw of its 21 attempts.
"A heck of a win. I'm just happy to win. Now we got a best-of-three," said Aces head coach Alex Compton, whose squad rebounded from a 97-92 Game 1 setback.
Allen Durham brought down a once 20-point Bolts deficit to only seven points, 86-79, with just 3:44 left on a lay-in. Mike Harris brought it back to nine, 90-81, with a floater before Chris Newsome completed a three-point play followed by a dagger three-pointer by Baser Amer to breathe down the Aces’ necks, 90-87, with 1:52 left.
Newsome was called for a goaltending on the next play, Amer split his free throws before Durham slammed it home to close the gap, 92-90, with 50 ticks left.
Harris sank a jumper to put Alaska up by four but Durham quickly answered with a basket off a timeout for a 94-92 count with 28 seconds remaining.
Meralco was forced to give up a foul and sent Alaska’s steady free throw shooter Casio on the line. But Newsome uncorked a corner pocket triple to cut the Bolts’ deficit to 96-95.
Casio added two free throws to put the Aces lead back to three with seven seconds left. Amer heaved a long three before Enciso put the icing on the cake from the line.
Picking up from where they left off in the first 24 minutes of action, the Aces went on a tear to open the third period as they opened a 66-46 gap with 4:31 left off a Vic Manuel split from the stripe.
Enciso led Alaska’s locals in the first half, scoring 13 points including a step-back jumper over the outstretched hands of Anjo Caram that gave the Aces a 47-40 cushion at the half.
Enciso shot five-of-7 from the field including three from beyond the rainbow arc for the Aces, which in the first half shot 20-of-41 from the field compared and forced Meralco to commit 11 turnovers that Alaska converted to 19 markers.
Alaska sparked a 13-4 blitz in the last five minutes of the second quarter after trailing, 34-36, with 5:56 left.
Alaska (100) -- Harris 37, Enciso 23, Banchero 13, Manuel 7, Baclao 6, Racal 5, Casio 4, Exciminiano 3, Teng 2, Thoss 0.
Meralco (95) -- Durham 24, Salva 20, Amer 14, Hugnatan 12, Tolomia 10, Newsome 6, Caram 4, Canaleta 3, Faundo 2, Dillinger 0, Ballesteros 0.
Quarters: 23-21, 47-40, 74-60, 100-95.
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