Vic Manuel delivered the needed points in the payoff period to send Alaska to a 100-91 come-from-behind win over San Miguel Beer in Game 1 of the best-of-seven championship round of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The power forward Manuel tallied 14 of his 24 points in the fourth period in addition to his five rebounds and two steals and swingman Cyrus Baguio scored 16 points to help the Aces take a 1-0 advantage in the series.
Calvin Abueva contributed 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Chris Banchero added seven of his 15 points in the final frame also for Alaska.
“San Miguel Beer handled us for 40? In 44 minutes? it’s a winning organization, it’s a winning team. I didn’t like the way we’re playing,” said Alaska mentor Alex Compton during the post game interview. “We’re able to string a bunch of stops.”
Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter led the reigning champion San Miguel Beermen with 20 points and 19 points, respectively.
Game 2 is set on Tuesday at the same venue.
Alaska took advantage of June Mar Fajardo’s absence by outplaying its counterpart in the early part of first quarter, but San Miguel Beer banked on Cabagnot’s playmaking skills to tie the first quarter at 23-all. Abueva finished with seven points in the first quarter plus eight rebounds.
Guard Marcio Lassiter, who had six points in the second period, joined forces with Tubid and Cabagnot in the second quarter to combine 16 of San Miguel Beer’s 19 points in that period allowing them to establish a 42-38 advantage at the half.
San Miguel Beer went on a scoring rampage in the third period outscoring Alaska 33-28 behind Lassiter’s 11 third quarter points that stretched the Beermen’s lead to 75-66 before the last period begins.
Veteran Yancy De Ocampo hit a three-pointer at the start of fourth period providing San Miguel Beer a 78-66 cushion in the early part of the payoff frame.
But Alaska unleashed a sparkling 22-8 run in the pivotal fourth period to snatch the lead 88-86 behind Abueva’s putback with less than three minutes left in the game. Alaska point guard Jayvee Casio hit a three-pointer to give the Aces a 96-91 lead with only 1:12 left in the game.
The Beermen couldn’t recover from thereon.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer’s team doctor Ramon Ibanez said the injured 6’10 Fajardo will rest for two to four weeks after suffering a left knee injury during Game 6 of the best-of-seven semifinals against Rain or Shine last Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Fajardo, who averaged 26.7 points, 15 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game during the elimination and the semifinals stage, will most likely miss the entire championship series although there is no tear in his left knee muscles and his ligament remains intact, according to the doctors of St. Luke.
“I think the management will just rest him for this entire series because they need June Mar (Fajardo) in the future more than they need him today,” said assistant team manager Danby Henares.
Fajardo did not show up in the venue.