PBA: Aces take control of series, 2-1

Mark Escarlote on Nov 15, 2018 09:26 PM
PBA: Aces take control of series, 2-1
Alaska squeaked past Meralco to take a 2-1 best-of-five series lead in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals.

Alaska survives a squeaker, 104-102, over Meralco in Game 3 on Thursday night to take control of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-five semifinals series at the Cuneta Astrodome.  

The Aces dealt the Bolts their second straight victory for a 2-1 series lead. Alaska can close the series on Saturday at the same venue.

Simon Enciso and Mike Harris carried the Aces in the closing stretch with the Alaska import scoring the last nine points of Alaska for a 104-102 cushion in the last 9.6 seconds.    

Allen Durham had a chance to win the game for Meralco but missed on his drive, Reynel Hugnatan, who came out firing from the rainbow arc in the final minutes, missed a tip before Anjo Caram heaved a wayward shot at the buzzer as Alaska escaped with the crucial win.

“That was a huge game. I don’t know what TV ratings are, but I hope people watched that game because that was an excellent basketball game played by both teams,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton. “That’s one of those games nobody deserve to lose.”

Harris finished with 31 points with 24 rebounds and seven assists to lead Alaska while Enciso and Chris Banchero had 17 markers each. Nonoy Baclao added 11 points to fill for the sour-shooting Vic Manuel, who had only eight markers in a 3-of-10 shooting clip.

Enciso exploded with nine straight points, including two triples, to give Alaska a 95-92 lead with 1:52 left. Hugnatan tied the knot at 95 on a triple before Harris answered  with a basket on the other end. Hugnatan gave Meralco the lead on a top of the key trey but Harris quickly pushed the Aces back in front with a completed three-point play, 100-98, with 50 ticks remaining.

Durham again tied it at 100 before Harris completed another and-one play with 16.1 seconds left off the last foul by Chris Newsome. Durham chopped their deficit back to one, 103-102, off a drive over Harris with 11 seconds left. Harris was brought to the line with 9.6 seconds left, missing his first before sinking his second for a two-point lead.

The Bolts started out hot in the second half and even took a 64-53 lead before the Aces stepped on the gas pedal to spark their fast-paced game. With Alaska running the floor, the Aces were able to overtake Meralco with a scoring blitz to enter the payoff period with a 76-75 advantage.

Two-time reigning Conference Best Import Durham poured 18 points in the first half in a crisp 6-of-7 field goal shooting laced with eight boards, six assists and a pair of steal as the Bolts entered half time with a 53-47 lead.

Meralco dominated the points in the paint in the first 24 minutes of action, 24-14, and controlled the boards, 22-18.

Durham flirted with a triple-double with 37 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for the Bolts. Hugnatan shot 4-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc for 19 markers while Newsome and Baser Amer scored 18 and 11, respectively, for Meralco. 


Box scores: 

Alaska (104) -- Harris 31, Enciso 17, Banchero 17, Baclao 11, Manuel 8, Casio 7, Thoss 6, Cruz 4, Racal 3, Exciminiano 0, Potts 0.

Meralco (102) -- Durham 37, Hugnatan 19, Newsome 18, Amer 11, Caram 4, Faundo 4, Salva 3, Dillinger 3, Lanete 3, Canaleta 0, Tolomia 0.

Quarters: 25-22, 47-53, 75-74, 104-102.


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