2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Semifinals Roundup: April 27-29, 2013

Semifinal action in the 2013 PBA Commish Cup continued to heat up as both series are now squared at 1-1 after a whirlwind weekend of hoops. San Mig Coffee got the jump on Alaska this past Saturday only to be blown out in Game 2 yesterday, while the Texters contained Vernon Macklin to tie things up with the Gin Kings. Hostilities will cease to give way to this coming weekend’s All-Star activities in Davao, and games will resume next week.

Denzel Bowles hit three straight buckets to lift the
Mixers over Alaska in Game 1.
This past Saturday, San Mig Coffee beat Alaska, 71-69, in Game 1 of their semifinal match-up to take a 1-0 lead. It was a game characterized by great defense – defense reminiscent of Mike Fratello's Cleveland Cavaliers from the 90s!!! SMC coach Tim Cone remarked how that first half was the best defensive half of any basketball game he's been a part of in the past 24 years. Cheers to good old-fashioned defense!

Oh but there were heroes, too, like Denzel Bowles coming through in the end. Bowles had struggled all throughout with just 6 points before displaying great hero ball in the dying minutes. He scored the last 6 points of the entire game to steal Game 1 and lift the Mixers to an improbable W. Of course, his legend continued to grow, too.

In Sunday’s showcase game, Talk N Text overcame Bgy. Ginebra, 85-79, despite not having national pool member Jared Dillinger. The killer was a 12-0 run to start the fourth for TNT. The Texters looked like a lost cause heading into the final frame down 9 and with RDO suffering through foul trouble, but they buckled down and mounted a searing rally. And RDO? He pumped in 10 of his 16 points in that pivotal fourth quarter.

V-Mack was limited to just 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field tonight, but it was his free throw shooting that compounded his woes. The Ginebra import managed to hit just 5-of-10 from the stripe.

Just last night, Alaska also squared its series by beating San Mig Coffee, 86-67, for the first time since Luigi Trillo took over the head coaching reigns. This time around, Robert Dozier showed Denzel Bowles up. The former Memphis Tiger dropped 28 points on top of TWENTY SEVEN rebounds, shooting 13-of-16 from the floor. Needless to say, it was an amazing performance from one of the top candidates for the Bobby Parks Best Import of the Conference. Meanwhile, Bowles ended with a measly 8 points on 4-of-12 FG shooting. EIGHT points in 43 minutes? This was a pedestrian in a Denzel Bowles costume. For sure.

The Aces were a picture of efficiency here as they shot 50% from the 2-point area, had more rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks PLUS fewer turnovers than SMC. No wonder it was a blowout. Now about those friggin' free throws… (just 48% accuracy).

Game Recaps:
Denzel Bowles struggled all game, but scored the last six points for his team, including the winning jumper with six seconds left to lift San Mig Coffee over Alaska, 71-69, Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The win gave the defending champion Mixers a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series and preserved coach Tim Cone’s perfect record against his former team.

“Denzel, those last three shots, what do you do? What do you do defensively?” Cone said after the game.

“I’ve said this before: Denzel, he’s a big game guy, he’s a big moment guy.”

Bowles finished with just 12 points. He had a difficult time scoring against the defense of the Aces, who battled the Mixers in a fierce defensive struggle that saw the two teams combine for just 45 points in the first half.

“Honestly, at halftime, I laughed to my coaching staff,” Cone said.

“It wasn’t like we were missing open shots. Everything was just incredibly contested. It was the best defensive half I’ve been a part of in my 24 years of coaching.”

The Mixers got plenty of sparks. Peter June Simon top-scored with 15 points, while Mark Barroca scored all 13 of his points in the third quarter to keep San Mig Coffee afloat. James Yap, meanwhile, once again battled his back problems to finish with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Robert Dozier finished with 21 points for Alaska, which saw no other Aces player score in double-figures.

SMC 71 - Simon 15, Barroca 13, Bowles 12, Yap 10, Devance 6, Gonzales 5, Pingris 5, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 2, Mallari 1, Najorda 0.
ALA 69 - Dozier 21, Abueva 9, Hontiveros 8, Thoss 7, Baguio 7, Jazul 6, Casio 6, Espinas 5, Dela Cruz 0, Belasco 0.
QS: 7-11, 24-21, 50-48, 71-69

Coach Tim Cone continued his undefeated streak against
Luigi Trillo last Saturday.

JV Casio struggled big time in Game 1.

Down big heading into the fourth quarter and playing against a mammoth hostile crowd, Talk ‘N Text could have easily folded.

Instead, the Tropang Texters dug deep and displayed their championship poise, using a furious fourth quarter run to defeat Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 85-79, before 17,627 fans Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“There was a sense of urgency there in the fourth quarter,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black.

The Tropang Texters were down by nine points, 68-59, heading into the fourth quarter. But they opened the final period with a 12-0 run, before holding steady in the face of a furious Ginebra fightback to tie their best-of-five Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series at one game apiece.

“I’m just really happy that we decided to play defense tonight,” said Black, whose team gave up 104 points in a lopsided Game One defeat last Friday.

The Tropang Texters held Vernon Macklin to just 15 points, after the Ginebra import broke loose for 25 in the series opener. They also hounded Ginebra star LA Tenorio to just eight points on 4-of-16 shooting, forcing him to miss all seven attempts from beyond the arc.

Talk ‘N Text’s point guard tag team of Jayson Castro and Jimmy Alapag paced the squad, scoring 22 and 17 points, respectively. But it was Ranidel De Ocampo who came up biggest in the clutch for the Tropang Texters, scoring 10 points in the final period, including a dagger three-pointer with 33.7 seconds that put away the game for Talk ‘N Text, 83-79.

It was redemption for De Ocampo, who played just 22 minutes after battling foul trouble all game.

“I thought they were rather cheap fouls, although he did reach in. He got called for a couple of flopping fouls on LA Tenorio,” said Black.

“I wasn’t happy with the calls, but we’ve got to respect the way the referees called the game.”

The series resumes on May 8 to give way to the PBA All-Star Weekend, and Black is hoping the long break will allow his team to recharge.

“That would probably help us more than hurt us,” said Black. “I think it will benefit both teams. Both of us have injuries to key players.”

Black’s big concern, however, is the inclusion of several Tropang Texters in the lineup of the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national pool.

“A lot of our players are on the national team, so it’s gonna be work instead of rest for them,” said Black.

TNT 85 - Castro 22, Alapag 17, De Ocampo 16, Jordan 14, Carey 6, Al-Hussaini 5, Reyes 4, Aban 1, Raymundo 0, Fonacier 0, Ferriols 0.
GIN 79 - Raymundo 17, Macklin 15, Urbiztondo 15, Helterbrand 12, Tenorio 8, Ellis 6, Taha 2, Baracael 2, Maierhofer 2.
QS: 22-20, 47-44, 59-68, 85-79

Vernon Macklin rocks the rim in the face of Jerome Jordan's D.

Jayson Castro came to play in Game 2.
RaniDIRK hit the big shots in the fourth to
square the series.

After Game One of the Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series between Alaska and San Mig Coffee, the headlines were all about Mixers import Denzel Bowles.

In the second game, Aces reinforcement Robert Dozier decided he wanted the spotlight for himself.

Dozier put together a dominant performance, posting 28 points and 27 rebounds to lead Alaska to a series tying 86-67 victory over San Mig Coffee Monday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The former University of Memphis forward was all over the court, missing just three shots as he completely outclassed Bowles, who was held to a career-low eight points.

“I thought Robert was sensational,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo, who team earned its first-ever win over San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone, the former Aces coach who led the franchise to 13 championships over 22 years. Cone had previously won nine straight games against his old team.

Trillo said the experience in Game One helped Dozier.

“I was proud of him that he toughened up,” said the coach.

Bowles, who scored the game-winning jumper in the opening game, shot just 4-of-12 from the field, though he grabbed 17 rebounds.

“I thought Bowles was maybe a little bit tired, but we did a good job on him,” said Trillo, who paid tribute to his frontcourt for their effort against last year’s Commissioner’s Cup Best Import.

“Robert and Sonny [Thoss] are pillars. But also, to mention, Gabby Espinas and Nic Belasco. I think they tired Denzel out.”

Point guard JVee Casio backstopped Dozier, scoring 16 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc to rebound from a poor shooting performance in Game One.

The series resumes on May 8 to give way to the PBA All-Star Weekend, a break that will serve both teams well, according to Trillo.

“Both teams now will be rested,” he said. “Expect a dogfight.”

ALA 86 - Dozier 28, Casio 16, Thoss 8, Baguio 8, Hontiveros 5, Espinas 4, Jazul 2, Laure 2, Dela Cruz 2, Bugia 1, Ramos 0, Reyes 0, Eman 0,Belasco 0.
SMC 67 - Devance 15, Simon 15, Bowles 8, Yap 5, Barroca 4, Alvarez 3, Mallari 3, Pingris 3, Reavis 3, Ponferrada 2, Gaco 2, Najorda 2, De Ocampo 2, Pacana 0, Gonzales 0.
QS: 24-14, 43-28, 63-44, 86-67
Calvin Abueva is the latest to join the dramatic
circus of James Yap's life.

Rob Dozier was dominant as Alaska finally
broke the ice against SMC.

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 and Paul Ryan Tan) 
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