2014 PBA Commish Cup: Aces get back on track after beating Express!

Coach Luigi Trillo can sigh with relief because it looks like his Alaska Aces are still capable of putting up a great showing. This they did last night when they trounced the Express thanks to a great fourth quarter windup, 88-78. 

Naturally, it was reigning Best Import Rob Dozier who did most of the damage, scoring 23 points on 8/15 FG shooting while also grabbing 9 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 assists. As a team, the Aces shot well, making 43% of their threes, 51% of their 2-point FGs, and 73% of their free throws. They lost the rebounding battle, 41-39, but they made up for this by showing better ball distribution. Alaska had 18 assists to just 9 for Air 21.

The Express had a chance to stick to the leaders had they won this game, but, instead, they let up in the fourth and allowed the Aces to gain their second W in five games. Joseph Yeo had another great outing for Air 21 with 19 points, 5 assists, and 4 boards, but he got little support from import Herve Lamizana. The Ivorian big man struggled on offense again, shooting just 4/14 from the floor to finish with a pedestrian 16 markers. He did grab 10 rebounds, but this was once again offset by his missing 5 free throws and turning the ball over three times. Something tells me this guy is on his way out.

Aces up the sleeve: Alaska’s local Aces showed up to play in this one. Former Gilas big man Sonny Thoss had a huge double-double line — 14 points and 12 rebounds to go along with 3 assists and 3 blocks — in leading the Uytengsu franchise, while reigning Rookie of the Year Calvin Abueva shot 3/3 from the field and 6/8 from the line to register 13 points. The backcourt dup of JV Casio and RJ Jazul also shone, pairing up for 20 points, 4 triples, and 5 dimes. If the locals can consistently play at a high level, then Alaska still has a legitimate chance of defending its Commish Cup title.

Sonny Thoss (L) and Joseph Yeo (R) had great
games last night in the PBA.
(composite image by Enzo Flojo/Hoop Nut)

Game Recap:

ALASKA over AIR 21, 88-78

The Alaska Aces put away the Air 21 Express with a fourth quarter finishing kick en route to an 88-78 victory on Monday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The win arrested the two-game losing streak of the defending champion Aces, whose win-loss record improved to 2-3.

“I just had to have some guys buying in on what we’re doing defensively. Past games, we were breaking down in terms of gameplan,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.

“In the first few games, we’re playing with a little frustration, our guys missing their shots.”

The game was tight throughout, with the score remaining tied at 70-all halfway through the final period.

The Aces unleashed a 12-4 run capped by a floater from Robert Dozier that gave them an 82-74 lead with 1:10 remaining. That proved to be insurmountable.

The reigning Best Import led all scorers with 23 points along with nine rebounds and four blocks. More importantly, he shut down Air 21′s versatile import Herve Lamizana, who finished with just 16 points on miserable 4-of-14 shooting from the field.

Joseph Yeo had 19 points to lead Air 21, whose record fell to 2-2.

Trillo expressed confidence that his team could regroup to retain the title despite their slow start.

“This is not a sprint, this is a long season. We have time to regroup,” he said.

ALA 88 – Dozier 23, Thoss 14, Abueva 13, Casio 10, Jazul 10, Hontiveros 6, Baguio 6, Dela Cruz 2, Espinas 2, Manuel 2, Reyes 0.
AIR 78 – Yeo 19, Lamizana 16, Taulava 11, Cardona 10, Borboran 9, Villanueva 5, Ramos 4, Burtscher 2, Atkins 2, Jaime 0, Poligrates 0.
QS: 19-16, 38-41, 61-62, 88-78

Herve Lamizana and Rob Dozier fight for the loose ball.

Joseph Yeo spots up from deep.

The games aren't the only attractions in the PBA.

Sonny Thoss spins around Asi Taulava.

Recap by Rey Joble/InterAKTV.

Images by Paul Ryan Tan & Paolo Papa (Sports 5).

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