The Alaska Aces continued their surprisingly strong run in the 2012 PBA Philippine Cup Playoffs, whereas the San Mig Coffe Mixers were pushed to the brink of elimination.
James Yap rebounded from a subpar Game 3 to post 20 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists in Game 4 against Rain or Shine, but even that wasn’t enough to tow the Mixers to victory. PJ Simon and Joe Devance backstopped Yap with a combined 29 points, but, as a team, the Mixers shot poorly from the floor, converting just 39% of their attempts. Yap, Devance, Mark Barroca, and Jonas Villanueva accounted for 30 of SMC’s 43 misses. Barroca and Villanueva only made one FG between them.
On the other end of the floor, the Painters leaned on a more balanced distribution of the scoring load, especially since chief gunner Paul Lee struggled with his shot. Lee, the Rookie-of-the-Year last season, wound up with just 2 markers on 1-of-7 shooting from the field. Lee played just 15 minutes for coach Yeng Guiao.
His teammates didn’t really mind picking up the slack, though. The backcourt quartet of Gabe Norwood, Ryan Araña, Jeff Chan, and Chris Tiu all took turns puncturing the basket for the Painters. They finished with 14, 13, 12, and 10 points respectively. Ronnie Matias also came up big, scoring all his 8 points in the second half to keep the Mixers at bay. The Painters are now just a win away from booking a ticket to the Philippine Cup Finals.
In the other game, the Aces continued playing physical basketball to frustrate the heavily-favored Texters in Game 4. Despite having 6 players finish in double-digits, Talk N Text wasn’t able to dispose of Alaska, which was paced by the backcourt duo of JV Casio and Cyrus Baguio. Casio and Baguio paired up for 40 points on the strength of 6 treys as the Aces tied up their semifinal series at 2 games apiece, which made it a virtual best-of-three affair.
|Cyrus Baguio bucked the fine imposed on him by the|
league and torched the Texters with sharp sniping.
Rookie sensation Calvin Abueva also racked up monster stats, finishing with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Likewise, DonDon Hontiveros and Mac Baracael stepped up with 13 and 12 markers respectively. Despite getting outrebounded, 40-53, by the Texters, the Aces were more efficient on the offensive end, making nearly 47% of their shots while limiting TNT to a lowly 39% success rate.
Even with twin spitfires Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro putting up a combined 33 points, the Tropang Texters of coach Norman Black now find themselves in a dogfight for the right to stay alive in the war for the Philippine Cup.
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS over SAN MIG COFFEE MIXERS, 83-74
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters turned back a late charge by the San Mig Coffee Mixers to pull out an 83-74 victory Thursday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Game Four of their Philippine Cup semifinals series.
The win gave the Elasto Painters a 3-1 series lead, just one victory away from their first Philippine Cup finals appearance in franchise history.
There were many heroes for Rain or Shine, including Ronnie Matias, who got key baskets and offensive rebounds late in the game to help preserve the win.
“Ronnie Matias just hustled his way to become the best player of the game,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao about Matias, who finished with eight points and five rebounds. Six of those points came in the fourth quarter, when San Mig Coffee charged back from an 18-point deficit to cut the lead to just three points.
“Si Coach Yeng, sabi sa ‘min unahin muna namin yung depensa kesa sa opensa. Mananalo talaga kami sa depensa,” said Matias.
Guiao said he chewed out Matias in the locker room at halftime after several lapses in the first half while defending against San Mig Coffee superstar James Yap, who led all scorers with 20 points.
“Nakawala si James nang dalawang beses sa kanya. When he came back, he more than made up for mistakes,” said Guiao.
Rain or Shine won despite a sub-par game from Paul Lee, who scored just two points.
“Paul Lee played horribly but other guys stepped up,” said Guiao, who had five players scoring at least eight points. Gabe Norwood led Rain or Shine with 15 points, including a gorgeous reverse alley-oop slam in the second quarter off a pass by Chris Tiu.
“Any time others are not able to contribute, then others will contribute.”
Rain or Shine looked like it had the game in the bag, taking a 54-36 third quarter lead. But the Mixers came roaring back in the fourth quarter behind Yap, Peter June Simon, and Joe Devance. A three-pointer by Simon cut the lead to 77-74 with under a minute remaining in the game, but timely defensive stops allowed the Elasto Painters to score the final six points of the match, all from Tiu.
“It’s a big win for us because now we get three chances to make the finals,” said Guiao, whose team will have a chance to finish the series Saturday.
ROS 83 — Norwood 14, Arana 13, Chan 12, Tiu 10, Matias 8, Cruz 6, Belga 6, Rodriguez 4, Quinahan 3, Ibanes 3, Lee 2, Tang 2.
SMC 74 — Yap 20, Simon 15, Devance 14, Pingris 7, Ramos 5, Reavis 4, De Ocampo 4, Barroca 3, Gaco 2, Villanueva 0.
QS: 18-10, 40-32, 62-52, 83-74
|Gabe Norwood rises for an alley-oop|
reverse jam against SMC.
|James Yap lets the ref checks his arm after|
he gets a gash.
|Ryan Araña and the Painters drove past Marc Pingris|
and the Mixers for a 3-1 series lead.
ALASKA ACES over TALK N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERS, 104-99
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo knows the key to beating Talk ‘N Text is not just to count on one person but to count on everyone.
The Aces did just that, drawing huge contributions from seven players to outlast Talk ‘N Text, 104-99, in Game 4, and even up their best-of-seven semifinals series in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
JVee Casio finished with 22 points on a steady 6-for-8 shooting clip from the field and held his own anew against probably the best backcourt duo in the league in helping the Aces recover from a sound beating in Game 3.
Casio wasn’t the only one who played with a sense of urgency for the Aces.
Cyrus Baguio contributed 18 markers, including a key three-pointer in the fourth that helped stave off a late Talk ‘N Text rally. His triple at the 1:15 mark of the fourth stretched Alaska’s lead to five, 99-94.
Calvin Abueva had another double-double performance, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Dondon Hontiveros provided the spark off the bench, tallying 13 points.
“It’s just one of those games – a grind-out type of win. We know Talk ‘N Text is an explosive team, but we limited them to 18 third quarter points. We know nothing is going to be easy against this team,” said Trillo.
The Aces won despite being beaten on the battle of the boards. The Tropang Texters grabbed 13 more rebounds than their counterparts, a thing that concerns Trillo moving forward.
“Our concern is rebounding. We’ll have a handful the next couple of games,” added Trillo.
Mac Baracael scored 12 while Gabby Espinas and Sonny Thoss each had nine markers in a well-distributed effort for the Aces.
ALA 104 – Casio 22, Baguio 18, Abueva 15, Hontiveros 13, Baracael 12, Espinas 9, Thoss 9, Reyes 2, Jazul 2, Dela Cruz 2, Eman 0.
TNT 99 – Alapag 17, Castro 16, De Ocampo 14, Fonacier 12, Carey 12, Williams 11, Reyes 9, Peek 5, Dillinger 2, Aban 1, Raymundo 0, Gamalinda 0, Alvarez 0, Ferriols 0.
QS: 30-25; 55-56; 81-74; 104-99.
|Calvin Abueva gets some pointers from Louie Alas, a coach|
against whom he fought many wars in his collegiate days.
|Jimmy Alapag and the rest of TNT are getting|
all they can handle against Alaska.
Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Rey Joble.)
Images: All images are from InterAKTV. (Photo credit to Paul Ryan Tan)