Alaska forced a sudden-death match versus Talk ‘N Text while Rain or Shine cruised into the semifinals on Tuesday in Games 2 of the best-of-three quarterfinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces, behind Robert Dozier’s third quarter performance, pulled off a crucial 85-81 victory setting up a do-or-die Game 3 on Friday at the same venue.
Dozier, who missed the elimination round because of a foot injury, tallied 13 of his 18 points in the third period on 7-of-14 shooting in the field in addition to 10 rebounds, a steal and a block.
Forward Calvin Abueva and Sonny Thoss contributed 15 points each while guard RJ Jazul had 10 points also for Alaska.
“Talk ‘N Text had 81 points and I am so happy with the way we defended. My heart dropped basement five when Troy [Rosario] was left open, it scared the life out of me,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton. “We’re going to come out with some new looks on offense on Friday.”
Import David Simon posted 31 points, 15 rebounds plus two blocks to lead the Tropang Texters.
Rookie Jeth Troy Rosario, who scored a career-high 31 points last Sunday in Talk ‘N Text’s 106-99 win over Alaska in Game 1 of the quarterfinals finished with a mere eight points through 2-of-7 shooting in the field in Game 2, stifled by Alaska’s tight defense.
In the first game, Rain or Shine joined Meralco in the Final Four by sweeping Barangay Ginebra 102-89 through the brilliant game of Jeff Chan and JR Quinahan.
The Elasto Painters, employing fast-paced defense and seamless execution of offense foiled every counterattack of the Gin Kings.
Left-handed shooting guard Jeff Chan notched 10 of his 22 points in the fourth period including four triples to derail Ginebra’s fourth quarter rally. He scored the clutch baskets in the last five-minute mark to provide Rain or Shine its biggest lead in the game 98-82.
“We played good tonight and we tried to avoid the bad start we had the other game. We played excellent defense especially in the second half tonight,” said Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao, referring to their 88-84 Game 1 win on Sunday.
Rain or Shine dominated their foes all four quarters of the game.
The 6’5 Quinahan posted 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting in the field plus five boards and a block while freshman Maverick Ahanmisi contributed 13 points, four rebounds and four assists.
“Everybody was hustling and we’re the most consistent team in this league and we’re proud of that,” he said. “I am happy with our import we’re not being dominated inside. JR [Quinahan] played another excellent game, he stepped up and he stopped the momentum of the other team.”
Import Paul Henderson-Niles scored 10 points plus 14 rebounds, two assists and a block in 29 minutes of play.
“Maverick stepped up, Gabe [Norwood] and Jireh [Ibañez] did a great job on the import. [Othyus] Jeffers had to bleed for his points. We didn’t expect to go 2-0 against Ginebra. We’re looking to go all the way to Game 3.”
“I guess it’s our speed we’re not going to beat them on a deliberate half court game which is their game.”
Ginebra’s import Jeffers finished with 27 points plus 14 rebounds and six assists.
RAIN OR SHINE 102 – Chan 22, Quinahan 21, Ahanmisi 13, Henderson Niles 10, Almazan 6, Norwood 6, Belga 5, Cruz 5, Tiu 5, Teng 4, Lee 3, Ponferada 2, Ibanes 0.
GINEBRA 89 – Jeffers 27, Aguilar 14, Slaughter 14, Tenorio 11, Caguioa 10, Devance 7, Ellis 4, Thompson 2, Helterbrand 0, Marcelo 0, Mercado 0.
Quarters: 31-21, 50-44, 77-64, 102-89
ALASKA 85 – Dozier 18, Thoss 15, Abueva 15, Jazul 10, Dela Cruz 9, Baguio 7, Manuel 4, Hontiveros 3, Banchero 2, Exciminiano 2, Baclao 0, Menk 0.
TROPANG TNT 81 – Simon 31, Castro 17, De Ocampo 15, Rosario 8, Tautuaa 7, Ababou 3, Fonacier 0, Rosser 0, Reyes R. 0, Reyes J. 0, Williams 0.
Quarters: 20-16, 40-38, 67-63, 85-81