2012 PBA Governors' Cup Roundup: June 27-29, 2012

Jay Washington slams it home as the Petron
Blaze Boosters barge into the semifinals.


If you stop Zach Graham, you stop Air 21.

The Alaska Aces implemented that philosophy as they put an end to the Express’ slim chance of making it to the semifinal round of the PBA Governors’ Cup.

The Aces ran roughshod over the Express, 110-80, as Alaska coach Luigi Trillo and his troops shackled the high-scoring Graham and held him to his lowest output on Wednesday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. With the win, the Aces have eliminated the Express from the race for a semis berth.

“We took them away from their strength, which is Graham. He’s coming off a 51-point
performance, so there’s added respect there among those defending him,” said Trillo during the post-game interview.

“Cyrus (Baguio) played good defense on Zach, but it’s a collected team effort.”

Graham ended up scoring 25 points, which was his lowest output in the conference. He had his string of games with 30-plus points snapped after making just 8-of-27 field goals.

Baguio played his most productive game this conference, finishing with 24 points, including 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. He also had three blocks, making his presence felt on both ends of the court.

Jason Forte led the Aces with 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

The Aces finished their Governors’ Cup campaign with a 2-7 record, but they posted the biggest winning margin by any team in their final game. It was also Alaska’s biggest win since beating Barangay Ginebra, 102-72, in the 2005-06 Fiesta Conference.

Pending Air 21’s final game, Alaska could either end up dead last in the elimination round or ninth place at best.

The Aces’ previous worst finish in a conference was eighth place, which they posted in the 1992 All-Filipino, according to PBA head of stats Fidel Mangonon III.

Alaska posted leads of as high as 37 points, 93-56, on a three-pointer by Brandon Cablay early in the fourth period.

ALA 110 – Forte 26, Baguio 24, Tenorio 19, Thoss 10, Cablay 9, Espinas 8, Baracael 4, Dela Cruz 4, Jazul 3, Eman 3, Thiele 0, Bugia 0, Gelig 0.
A21 80 – Graham 25, Ritualo 11, Arboleda 9, Escobal 7, Faundo 6, Isip 6, Omolon 6, Sison 4, Menor 4, Espiritu 2, Bagatsing 0, Sena 0, Hubalde 0.
QS: 32-15, 56-32, 90-56, 110-80

RenRen Ritualo and the other Air21 locals
failed to provide enough support against Alaska.
Cyrus Baguio's 24 points helped the Aces end their
dismal season on a positive note.

In a rematch of last conference’s finalists, Talk ‘N Text gave B-MEG a dose of their own medicine with some tough defense and coasted to a surprisingly easy 89-72 triumph in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Aaron Aban made life difficult for James Yap early, while Ryan Reyes finished the job, hounding the two-time MVP in the fourth quarter.

Yap was held scoreless in both the first and fourth periods and his struggles took its toll on his team’s offense. The Commissioner’s Cup finals MVP finished with just nine points on 2-for-18 shooting from the field.

“The key was the defense of Aaron Aban and Ryan Reyes on James Yap,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes. “But overall, we played with an all-out mentality, that’s why we’re pushing until the end because there’s a situation where there can be six teams which will end up 5-4.”

With the victory, Talk ‘N Text climbed into a tie with B-MEG for the second spot with identical 5-3 records.

But the Tropang Texters are in for a tough test in their next game – the league-leading Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

“We have to be ready for Rain or Shine on Sunday,” added Reyes.

The usually offensive-minded Talk ‘N Text five buckled down on defense against the Llamados, a team known for their fine defensive work.

No player from the Tropang Texters scored more than 16 with Larry Fonacier leading the way with 16 built around 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo each scored 15 markers while import Paul Harris had only 14, but scored 10 during the pivotal fourth quarter.

Harris and Fonacier combined for 21 of the 26 points scored by the Tropang Texters in the final period as they kept the rallying Llamados at bay with crucial baskets.

TNT 89 – Fonacier 16, Castro 15, De Ocampo 15, Harris 14, Williams 11, Alapag 9, Aguilar 4, Reyes 3, Aban 2, Gamalinda 0, Peek 0.
BML 72 – Blakely 19, Urbiztondo 14, Yap 9, Reavis 8, De Ocampo 6, Barroca 4, Intal 4, Villanueva 4, Pingris 4, Simon 0.
QS: 22-10, 41-27, 63-53, 89-72

Marc Pingris and the Llamados absorbed just their
third loss in the Governors' Cup.
Former Ateneo teammates Japeth Aguilar and
JC Intal faced off in their pivotal encounter.

Mark Caguioa wanted to be there for Barangay Ginebra legend Robert Jaworski’s big bash.

Trying to book a ticket to the Governors’ Cup semifinals, when the jersey retirement ceremony for the Living Legend will be held, Caguioa and the rest of the Gin Kings took care of business against Barako Bull, 102-91, Friday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“We want to enter the semifinals and would like to make sure we will be there when his number is retired,” said Caguioa.

Caguioa finished with 22 points, including four three-pointers. His last trey with 1:42 left gave Ginebra a 96-87 lead and broke the back of rallying Barako Bull, which fought its way back from a 15-point deficit, but made costly errors down the stretch.

Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi said endgame miscues, including a traveling violation on LeRoy Hickerson, were crucial.

“Nagkaroon ng breakdown yung import ko,” said a dejected Baculi on Hickerson, who was called for steps while suing for a timeout.

“He thought he heard the whistle, but he was called for a travelling.”

In the face of the Barako rally, import Cedric Bozeman scored five straight points, including a three-pointer, giving Ginebra an 89-84 lead, with still 4:19 left. Caguioa then delivered the knockout blow with five straight points of his own inside the last two minutes to put away Barako Bull.

GIN 102 – Bozeman 28, Caguioa 22, Villanueva 11, Wilson 9, Raymundo 9, Cortez 8, Maliksi 6, Ababou 3, Maierhofer 3, Canaleta 3, Hatfield 0.
BAR 91 – Hickerson 21, Seigle 14, Miller 12, Allado 10, Pennisi 9, Tubid 7, Kramer 6, Najorda 5, Cruz 4, Salvacion 3.
QS: 31-22; 54-43; 74-71; 102-91

Willie Miller and the rest of the Barako Bull Energy
got eliminated after losing to the Ginebra Kings.
Mark Caguioa's 22 markers ensured that Ginebra would
be present when the PBA pays tribute to the iconic Robert Jaworski.

Alex Cabagnot added another number to his greatest hits collection.

The Petron guard rekindled his role as the team’s clutch player, scoring on a floater with nine-tenths of a second left to lift Petron Blaze to a tense 98-97 win over a game Air 21 side Friday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Zach Graham, who had another monster night with 40 points, made two free throws to give the Express a 97-76 lead before the Boosters sued for time to set up Cabagnot’s heroics.

But despite Cabagnot’s big shot and Petron’s escape win, head coach Ato Agustin wasn’t satisfied.

“Hindi dapat ganun ang nangyari, especially out na yung kalaban namin tapos kami naman, battling for survival sa semis,” said Agustin. “Kailangan naming panoorin ulit itong laro namin and see what went wrong.”

One of the obvious reasons why the Boosters nearly lost the game was the team’s poor rebounding.

“May tendency kasi yung mga players na kapag tumira, tatakbo na agad sa kabila,” said Agustin. “We need to secure the rebounds first.”

The defending champion Boosters were beaten off the boards by the Express, 53-38, as no Petron player was able to grab more than seven rebounds, with Arwind Santos leading Petron in the category.

With the win, Petron was able to enter the semifinal round as it finished its elimination campaign with a 5-4 win loss record.

PET 98 – Washington 23, Lutz 18, Santos 16, Cabagnot 13, Basden 7, Lanete 7, Baclao 6, Yeo 4, Miranda 2, Pena 2, Hontiveros 0.
A21 97 – Graham 40, Espiritu 16, Faundo 10, Ritualo 10, Sison 6, Escobal 5, Sena 2, Isip 2, Hubalde 2, Omolon 2, Arboleda 2, Menor 0.
QS: 20-22, 52-50, 79-75, 98-97

Zachary Graham played like a devil against the
Boosters, but it still wasn't enough to get a victory.
Alex Cabagnot added yet another clip to his crunch time reel after
hitting the game winner against Air21.

The semis cast is almost set for the
2012 PBA Governors' Cup.
(image from PBA-Online.net)

Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Reynaldo Belen.)

Images: All images are from InterAKTV. (Photo credit to Paolo Papa and Paul Ryan Tan) 
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