2013 PBA Philippine Cup Roundup: December 27, 2013

It was a pretty entertaining Friday evening in the 2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup last night, with Jeff Chan’s sniping enabling ROS to scrape past Barako Bull and Alaska’s frontline pushing the Aces over the Mixers.

Jeff Chan's late game three deflated the upset
hopes of Barako Bull.

In the curtain-raiser, Rain or Shine survived Barako Bull, 99-95, as Jeff Chan brought his A-game, scoring 19 points in the first half and hitting the go-ahead triple with around 8 ticks to go to lift the Painters past a gritty Barako Bull squad. The Gilas Pilipinas gunner strung up a total of 34 points after his sterling performance and also grabbed 6 rebounds. He hit 7 of 10 from beyond the arc as ROS climbed to fourth spot with a 6-3 slate.

Barako Bull was able to exploit the absence of Beau Belga here, outrebounding ROS, 53-50, and outscoring them in terms of second-chance points, 16-11. This was balanced off, however, by two things: Barako Bull turned the ball over 3 more times and they shot just 52% from the free throw line. Center Dorian Peña committed 5 of Barako's 14 turnovers, which is too big for someone who handles the ball close to the basket. Peña also accounted for 6 of Barako's 11 free throw misses.

Formerly called the "Baby Rocket" in his amateur days, it sure seems like JC Intal has found his niche and is slowly coming into his own in the PBA. The loss notwithstanding, he netted 16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in this one. He also shot 7/11 from the 2-point area. More importantly, he has blossomed into one of the Energy Cola's most dependable players. Currently, Intal is norming 10.5ppg, 4.6rpg, and 1.1spg -- all of which are career-highs. His player efficiency rating has also shot up to 26.04, which is almost double what he recorded last season.

In the nightcap, Alaska throttled San Mig Coffee, 88-75. With Marc Pingris out of commission due to a swollen knee, Alaska big men Sonny Thoss and Gabby Espinas had a field day here. Thoss dropped 16 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks, while Espinas recorded 15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal as the Aces nailed a much-needed fourth win ten games. This pushed Alaska up to sixth spot in the team standings. The Alaska bigs were practically unstoppable here, shooting 13/22 from the field.

Aside from the obvious donut hole left by Pingris's absence, San Mig Coffee didn't do itself any favors by missing 45 of its 75 field goals. Joe Devance, Mark Barroca, and PJ Simon all combined to shoot 8/29 from the floor, including 1/7 from three-point land. Coach Tim Cone's frontline also got outworked on the glass, with Devance, Ian Sangalang, Rafi Reavis and Yance De Ocampo all combining for a grand total of 12 rebounds.

It has been an up-and-down conference so far for Alaska, with the Aces unable to string two wins together. It looks like things don't look too bright up ahead, as well, with Talk N Text, Meralco, GlobalPort, and Barako Bull remaining in Alaska's schedule. Most of those are beatable teams for the Aces, but the big questions is this: can they consistently play at a high level?

Game Recaps:
Jeff Chan scored 34 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 8.2 seconds left to help Rain or Shine foil Barako Bull, 99-95, on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.

His cold-blooded dagger, his seventh conversion from beyond the arc, allowed the Elasto Painters to escape a second-half rally that saw Barako Bull take the lead after being down by as many as 13 points in the first half.

“We played a bad second half. Everything we gained in the first half we lost in the first half,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, whose team won for the fifth time in eight games in the PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup.

Chan scored 19 points before halftime to help Rain or Shine take a 56-42 lead at the break.

But Barako Bull steadily chipped away at the deficit behind JC Intal and Dorian Pena, who combined for 23 of their 31 points in the second half.

Willie Miller capped the furious rally with a jumper that gave Barako Bull the lead with 18.1 seconds remaining.

Rain or Shine then set up a play to swing the ball to Chan, who was wide open for the game winner.

“It’s a good thing Jeff saved the day for us. It was appropriate that it was his shot that won us the game,” said Guiao.

Gabe Norwood forced a turnover on Intal in Barako Bull’s final possession, and nailed two free throws with three-tenths of a second remaining for the final margin.

Paul Lee was the only other player in double figures for Rain or Shine, scoring 14 points. The Elasto Painters were without starting center Beau Belga due to measles.

“We missed Beau because we had a wide body (Pena) to defend against,” said Guiao. “But I don’t want to make it an excuse.”

Rico Maierhofer and Denok Miranda added 14 points apiece for Barako Bull, which lost for the seventh time in the last eight games for a 3-7 win-loss record.

ROS 99 – Chan 34, Lee 14, Cruz 8, Nuyles 8, Norwood 8, Quinahan 6, Tang 6, Teng 5, Rodriguez 4, Arana 2, Almazan 2, Tiu 2, Ibanes 0.
BAR 95 – Intal 16, Pena 15, Maierhofer 14, Miranda 14, Miller 9, Pennisi 6, Lastimosa 5, Isip 5, Jensen 4, Macapagal 3, Marcelo 2, Labagala 2, Wilson 0, Buenafe 0.
QS: 28-21, 56-42, 75-69, 99-95.

The Alaska Aces turned on the jets in the second half to cruise to an 88-75 victory over the San Mig Coffee Mixers on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Five players posted double-figures in scoring for the Aces, which improved its win-loss record in the PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup to 4-6.

In contrast, James Yap scored 21 points for the Mixers on 9-of-16 (56 percent) shooting while his teammates struggled for just 21-of-59 (36 percent) from the field.

“Just a collective team effort,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.

After a tight first half that ended in a 35-all tie, the dam broke for Alaska in the fourth quarter. The Aces began the final period on a 9-2 run to take a 71-57 advantage that they nursed the rest of the way.

The Mixers were missing defensive anchor Marc Pingris because of a swollen right knee. Alaska’s frontliners took advantage, with Sonny Thoss finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Calvin Abueva adding 15 and 10, and Gabby Espinas chipping in 15 and 7.

Alaska also ruled the battle of the boards, 49-37.

“I heard they also had some sick guys so we took advantage of that,” said Trillo. “Pingris really changes that team.”

Ian Sangalang was the only other player in double figures for San Mig Coffee with 13 points. The Mixers saw their two-game winning streak snapped as their record fell to 3-6.

ALA 88 - Thoss 16, Espinas 15, Abueva 15, Baguio 14, Jazul 10, Ramos 8, Casio 6, Eximiniano 4, Dela Cruz 0, Hontiveros 0
SMC 75 - Yap 21, Sangalang 13, Devance 9, Barroca 6, Simon 6, Acuna 5, Mallari 5, Reavis 4, De Ocampo 2, Gaco 2, Holstein 2, Cawaling 0, Melton 0
QS: 16-22, 35-35, 62-55, 88-75
Sonny Thoss had a field day against the short-handed SMC frontcourt.

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

Images: Unless otherwise specified, images are from the PBA and AKTV. (Photo credit to KC Cruz)

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