Alaska fought well in the payoff period to post a come-from-behind 86-78 victory over Rain or Shine in Game 5 of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals series on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Best Player of the Conference Calvin Abueva tallied 10 of his 20 points in the fourth canto in addition to his 13 rebounds and two blocks, while former best import Robert Dozier sizzled with 14 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks to help the Aces narrow the series gap to only 2-3.
Guard RJ Jazul added 13 points, Dondon Hontiveros made 12 points including three triples and Cyrus Baguio contributed 11 points also for the Aces.
“It was another proud game for me and our guys,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton during the post game interview. “Still doesn’t change my opinion of Rain or Shine. Makes me proud of my guys the way we played defense.”
Jeff Chan and Paul Lee led Rain or Shine with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
After taking a 19-15 advantage at the end of first period, Rain or Shine engaged to a tight defensive first half battle against Alaska settling to a 40-37 halftime edge. Chan shot 5-of-8 in the field for 13 points to lead the Elasto Painters at halftime.
The Aces gained contributions from former Letran Knights players Jazul and Kevin Racal with five points each at the halftime break, while Baguio and Dozier added five and six points, respectively, to keep the game at jabbing distance.
Rain or Shine showed its rebounding might by taking 22 against 14 of Alaska in the first two periods. The Elasto Painters also scored 14 points on the Aces’ 13 turnovers. Alaska, on the other hand, bagged just six points on Rain or Shine’s 11 errors.
Abueva came out aggressively and went on to the foul line twice making four free throws for six points to narrow Rain or Shine’s lead to just a single point (57-56) at the end of third canto.
Alaska unleashed magnificent 30-21 rally in the payoff period highlighted by the baskets of Jazul, Abueva and Dozier to score the important win and extend the series to another game.
Rain or Shine import Pierre Hendrson-Niles wasn’t a factor in the second half after being scoreless. He only finished with six points, eight rebounds plus five turnovers.
Alaska registered six steals and six blocks, while Rain or Shine only had two steals and three blocks in the entire game.
The Game 6 will be on Wednesday at the same venue.
ALASKA 86 – Abueva 20, Dozier 14, Jazul 13, Hontiveros 12, Baguio 11, Banchero 6, Racal 5, Baclao 2, Thoss 2, Dela Rosa 1.
RAIN OR SHINE 78 – Chan 17, Lee 16, Quinahan 9, Cruz 8, Ponferada 8, Henderson Niles 6, Norwood 5, Belga 4, Almazan 2, Ibanes 2, Ahanmisi 1, Tiu 0.
Quarterscores: 15-19, 37-40, 56-57, 86-78.