2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Roundup: April 3-5, 2013

The Aces and Mixers made roaring comebacks, the Gin Kings won their fifth straight, and Eric Dawson dumped 57 big ones this past week in the 2013 PBA Commish Cup.

Wednesday saw Meralco beat Petron, 102-92. As a team, the Bolts shot better than 50% from the field while also turning the ball over just 10 times throughout the game. This made up for the huge deficiency in rebounding, where Meralco was outclassed, 55-37, by the bigger Boosters. New Petron import Henry Sims was visibly outplayed here. He shot only 9-of-22 from the floor and turned the ball over 5 times with no assists. He was solid defensively, however, with 16 rebounds and 3 blocks.

On the other end, Eric Dawson was just unstoppable. With Denzel Bowles and Mike Dunigan hogging the headlines, many have forgotten about Dawson, who, perhaps, has the most decorated resume of all the imports remaining here. A few days after Carmelo Anthony dropped 50 on the Miami Heat, Dawson dropped 57 on Petron on the strength of 20-of-34 FG shooting. He also had enough decency to grab 14 rebounds, block 3 shots and get 4 steals. Bowles and Dunigan to Gilas? How about this guy? THIS GUY.

Eric Dawson dumped 57 points on the hapless Petron
Blaze Boosters. 

In the second game, Alaska defeated Rain or Shine, 89-84. ROS’s Jeff Chan might be Gilas PIlipinas's current chief sniper, but he was thoroughly outgunned by Gilas's former principal shooter, Dondon Hontiveros. In a performance reminiscent of his fourth quarter splurge against Japan in the 2011 Jones Cup, the Cebuano Hotshot poured in 18 of his 22 points in the final frame and OT to lead Alaska's awesome fightback. The Aces did a Ginebra, roaring back strong in the fourth to force overtime and then dominated in the extra session to remain firmly entrenched at the top spot. Alaska was actually outshot and outrebounded overall, but they made up for it by showing more grit and hustle when it counted the most.

2 out of 25. 8%. That's how badly ROS shot from rainbow country. Bruno Sundov and Chan made one trey each, but the rest of the Painters were shooting blanks. Still, they almost got away with it, leading by 17 going into the final canto.

Yesterday, Ginebra overcame Air21, 90-84, as the V-Mack Attack worked wonders again for the Kings, who are now riding high on a 5-game win streak. The burly Macklin pumped in 32 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks for coach Alfrancis Chua, thoroughly outplaying Air21's own import, Mike Dunigan, who had foul strouble saddling him all game long. He ended up with only 16 points and 8 rebounds – both way below his per game norms.

There was only one other guy who finished with a double-double in this game. He scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. And you wouldn’t believe whom it was -- LA friggin' Tenorio – the smallest guy on the court for most of this game's 48 minutes. The former Blue Eagle rifled in 4 triples and added 6 assists for the crowd darling Ginebra squad.

In Friday’s main game, San Mig Coffee won over Talk N Text, 83-82, due in no small part to the terrific play of Marc Pingris. He scored 11 points and hauled down 10 rebounds to go with 4 assists and 2 steals as the Mixers reached .500 in the standings. PJ Simon was awesome, too. I mean, who needs the distracted James Yap when Simon is playing so well? He shot 7-of-12 from the field in this one to finish with 15 points, including the winning turnaround jumper over Jimmy Alapag. He also added 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal for good measure.

TNT led 79-69 with only a few minutes remaining. They probably thought they had the game in the bag, and they actually did, but the SMC five just refused to fold. Also, they can't possibly win with their starting backcourt combining for just 9 points.

Game Recaps:
BGY. GINEBRA over AIR21, 90-84
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel pounced on the struggles of foul-plagued Michael Dunigan as the Kings extended their winning streak to five games with a 90-84 win over the Air 21 Express at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday to bolster their playoff bid in the PBA Comissioner’s Cup.

Still missing the services of top gun Mark Caguioa, the Kings’ locals provided plenty of help for import Vernon Macklin as LA Tenorio, Elmer Espiritu and Chris Ellis all rose to the occasion.

Espiritu scored all 10 of his points in the second half, including a crucial three-pointer at the 2:40 mark of the final quarter that pushed the Gin Kings’ lead to five, 84-79.

Another unheralded player, Rob Labagala, also came through with an important basket while a tip-in from Macklin in the last 28 seconds brought down the curtains on the hard-fighting Express, who were forced to play all-Filipino for long stretches as Dunigan was plagued by foul trouble thorughout the contest.

Dunigan fouled out of the game with still 4:15 left in the game.

“I told them huwag niyo na hanapin yung mga wala dito,” said Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua. “Yung mga hugot like Espiritu and Labagala pati yung iba naming mga players, lahat nag-contribute.”

The Kings won despite missing the services of Caguioa, Kerby Raymundo and Rico Maierhofer.

Macklin led Ginebra with 32 points and 11 rebounds. Tenorio had a double-double performance of 18 points and 11 rebounds while also dishing out six assists.

The Kings bucked a productive performance from Air 21′s KG Canaleta, who finished with 29 points built around five three-pointers.

Dunigan had only 16 points and eight rebounds in what was easily one of his worst games in the tournament.

GIN 90 – Macklin 32, Tenorio 18, Ellis 10, Espiritu 10, Helterbrand 6, Labagala 4, Mamaril 4, Baracael 3, Wilson 2, Taha 1, Hatfield 0.
AIR 84 – Canaleta 29, Dunigan 16, Cortez 12, Sena 8, Baclao 8, Custodio 6, Arboleda 3, Menor 2, Atkins 0, Wilson 0, Isip0, Omolon 0, Ritualo 0.
QS: 28-17, 46-41, 70-61, 90-84.

Niño Cañaleta tries to block this undergoal
reverse by Rob Labagala.

Vernon Macklin was a beast for the Gin Kings.

Outworked and outhustled all game long, San Mig Coffee saved its best defensive effort for the last six minutes of the game, holding Talk ‘N Text to just a single field goal in completing a come-from-behind 83-82 win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

The Mixers were trailing most of the way and needed one late push to get back on winning track.

They got exactly that in the last six minutes, shutting down the Tropang Texters while unloading a 14-2 run capped by PJ Simon’s short jumper for the final tally.

“We’ve been outworked every game this conference,” San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone said during the post game interview. “It’s been an inconsistent conference for us and the frustrating thing is we all know we have capabilities of reaching great heights, but we’re not doing it, and that frustrates us more.”

San Mig Coffee won its sixth game in 12 games despite not getting much production from James Yap, who only had three points in 26 minutes of play.

Cone explained the reason for his superstar’s struggle.

“He’s been sick the past two days. We also had Rafi Reavis who didn’t practice for 10 days while Alex Mallari didn’t return as his knee was bothering him the past few games until he couldn’t play it through when he went out in the first half. We’re not making excuses, but it’s hard to be consistent when you don’t have a healthy line up,” said Cone.

“But this one is crucial for us not just for the standings, but to get our confidence back.”

In pulling off a comeback win, the Mixers needed a big effort down the stretch, turning what looked like another disappointing loss into a dramatic victory.

“It’s a tough win. We jumped on each other. I don’t know what happened in the last two or three minutes, but we stuck on each other. We don’t expect a pretty win. We have to come out and struggle. When we won the championship last year, everything was a struggle,” added Cone.

SMC 83 – Bowles 18, Simon 15, Devance 15, Pingris 11, Barroca 7, De Ocampo 7, Yap 3, Reavis 3, Mallari 2, Gaco 2, Alvarez 0, Najorda 0.
TNT 82 – Harvey 19, Castro 17, De Ocampo 13, Reyes 12, Al-Hussaini 8, Fonacier 5, Alapag 4, Aban 2, Carey 2, Gamalinda 0, Peek 0.
QS: 23-20, 40-49, 66-65, 83-82.

PJ Simon tickled the twine with
this game-winner against TNT.

Donnell Harvey tries to pull-up over
Yancy De Ocampo.

Dondon Hontiveros outgunned the entire Rain or Shine team from the three-point area, lifting the Alaska Aces to a come-from-behind 89-84 overtime triumph Friday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“We were trying to keep the game close,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo. “They got big leads but we kept our focus and tried to play on positive note. Then Dondon got hot.”

The Cebuano Hotshot scored 18 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, helping the Aces rally from a 22-point deficit to regain solo first place in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Hontiveros’ three-pointer with 32 seconds left in regulation put the Aces on the driver’s seat, 79-77, before Rain or Shine import Bruno Sundov answered with two free throws to force overtime.

But in the extra period, Hontiveros showed he wasn’t through yet. He had back-to-back three-pointers that capped an 8-0 run for the Aces that proved enough to put away the Elasto Painters.

While Hontiveros waxed hot, Rain or Shine went ice-cold, making just two shots from beyond the arc against 23 misses, including a wide open three-pointer by Jeff Chan that could have won the game for the Elasto Painters in regulation.

ALA 89 – Dozier 23, Hontiveros 22, Baguio 12, Casio 9, Abueva 8, Espinas 6, Reyes 4, Jazul 3, Belasco 2, Eman 0, Thoss 0, Dela Cruz 0.
ROS 84 – Sundov 23, Lee 12, Norwood 12, Chan 12, Belga 6, Tang 4, Quinahan 4, Ibanes 4, Arana 3, Tiu 2, Cruz 1, Matias 1, Rodriguez 0.
QS: 11-20, 27-44, 47-64, 79-79, 89-84

Beau Belga gives Gabby Espinas the deathly stare.

Dondon Hontiveros waxed hot at just the right time
for the Alaska Aces.

MERALCO over PETRON, 102-92
Eric Dawson scored 57 points to lead the Meralco Bolts to a crucial 102-92 victory over the Petron Blaze Boosters in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“I haven’t seen anything like this for a long, long time,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio. “It’s amazing this happened, especially with the advent of scouting reports, but Eric was on fire.”

It was the first 50-point game in the PBA since Zach Graham scored 51 points for the Air 21 Express in last season’s Governors’ Cup against the Powerade Tigers. It was the highest total by any player since Derrick Brown scored 57 points in the 2004 Fiesta Conference.

Dawson’s onslaught came at a crucial time for Meralco, which won its second straight game to move into a triple-tie with Petron and Ginebra for third place in the team standings, with both teams posting identical 6-5 win-loss records.

“It would be an understatement if I say he had a good game, but I really thought he carried us on his shoulders,” said Gregorio

The Meralco import, who had been on fire averaging 34 points in his last two games, added 14 rebounds, four steals, and three blocks, outplaying Petron’s debuting import Henry Sims, who scored 23 points.

It was Petron’s third straight loss, with the Boosters’ last victory coming against Rain or Shine when the squad won despite playing without a reinforcement.

Dawson got critical local support in the fourth quarter, when the Bolts pulled away from a close game. He teamed up with Reynel Hugnatan for a 18-2 run in the final period that turned a 78-75 deficit into a 93-80 lead with just four minutes left in the match.

MER 102 – Dawson 57, Cardona 13, Hugnatan 13, Salvacion 8, Timberlake 4, Vanlandingham 3, Hodge 2, Reyes 2, Ross 0, Buenafe 0.
PET 92 – Sims 23, Lassiter 15, Santos 10, Cabagnot 9, Fajardo 8, Washington 8, Lutz 6, Miranda 6, Pena 5, Lanete 2.
QS: 22-28, 46-47, 75-70, 102-92

Marcio Lassiter tries to get around the defense
of Meralco's Chris Timberlake.

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

Images: Images are from InterAKTV and the PBA. (Photo credit to Paolo Papa) 
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