2014 PBA Governors’ Cup: TNT clinches playoff berth even as Alaska bounces back against SMC!

Top: Paul Harris returns to the PBA for his third tour of duty.
Bottom: Bill Walker explodes against the Mixers.

First Game:


With Rodney Carney not proving to live up to his billing, Talk N Text turned to a familiar face to reinforce them for this game and maybe lead them to the promised land this conference. Paul Harris first played for TNT way back in 2011, leading the franchise to the Commissioner’s Cup title. He then returned in the 2012 Governors’ Cup, helping TNT reach the semifinals.

Once again, he makes his way to the PBA, and this time he is the third import for TNT. He didn’t disappoint in his first game back, however, racking up a game-high 37 points to pace the Tropang Texters and assure them of a spot in the next round after beating the Batang Pier, 97-82. 

GlobalPort actually played well for about three periods here, staying within striking distance of Talk N Text till the start of the final frame, 69-63. At that point, Harris and Gilas Pilipinas guard Jayson Castro paired up to score TNT’s first 13 markers of the payoff period. That burst was capped off by the sixth and final three-pointer of Harris, which gave the Texters an 82-69 advantage that they would not relinquish.

Harris scored 28 of his 37 points in the second half, including hitting all six of his made treys in the third and fourth periods. The Syracuse University alum also hauled down 14 rebounds. He was backstopped by Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo, who tallied 14 and 13 markers respectively.

On the other end of the floor, Dior Lowhorn led the Batang Pier with 22 points, but this was way lower than his average of 35.5 points heading into the contest. To compound things, star forward Jay Washington missed the game reportedly because of tonsilitis.

GlobalPort enjoyed 17 points, 8 dimes, and 6 boards from Alex Cabagnot, while veteran Eric Menk dropped 11 markers. Meanwhile, Ronjay Buenafe, who got traded to the Batang Pier from Barako Bull, debuted with 5 points.

TNT 97 – Harris 37, Castro 14, De Ocampo 13, Fonacier 7, Reyes R 7, Alapag 5, Williams 4, Canaleta 4, Seigle 2, Reyes J 2, Baclao 2, Aban 0, Carey 0.
GLO 82 – Lowhorn 22, Cabagnot 17, Menk 11, Yee 8, Romeo 8, Buenafe 5, Lingganay 4, Hayes 3, Ponferada 2, Macapagal 2, Salvador 0, Acuna 0.
QS: 23-23, 41-39, 69-63, 97-82

Paul Harris shoots over Marvin Hayes in his first game back in the PBA.

Paul Harris goes up for the the reound against GlobalPort's Dior Lowhorn.

Second Game:


The Alaska Aces rebounded from the thrashing they received in their previous assignment by thoroughly outplaying the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in this encounter, 93-84. 

Import Henry Walker registered his highest-scoring game yet, hitting 50% of his field goals, including 5 triples, on his way to 32 points. After being on the receiving end of critics saying he wasn’t nearly as aggressive as the Aces needed him to be, the West Virginia native really took over in this match. Walker was active on both ends, too, grabbing 13 rebounds, handing out 6 assists, and getting 2 steals.

He had a lot of help, however, as three other Aces scored in double-digits. The burly tandem of Vic Manuel and Gabby Espinas, in fact, played solidly for coach Alex Compton. They combined to shoot 11/15 from the floor and finish with a total of 25 markers. Cyrus Baguio, for his part, also stepped up with 13 points, 4 boards, 3 dimes, 1 theft, and 1 block.

It was clear this was a different Alaska quintet from the one that lost to Rain or Shine a couple of days ago, and coach Compton took notice.

“The guys just played with the kind of intensity and drive that makes me proud coaching them. They showed their heart. I just challenged them and asked them who they are. They went out and showed me exactly who they are,” said the first time PBA head coach.

This gives the Aces their third win against four losses and keeps alive the possibility of their clinching a top four berth heading to the next round.

Fil-foreigners Joe Devance and Alex Mallari led the fight for the Mixers, who dropped to 4-2 in the team standings. Devance scored 14 points on 6/13 FG shooting, while Mallari recorded 13 markers. Import Marqus Blakely struggled offensively, missing 8 of his 12 field goals to finish with only 11 points, his lowest output since scoring just 10 in SMC’s first game this conference.

ALA 93 – Walker 32, Manuel 14, Baguio 13, Espinas 11, Thoss 9, Abueva 6, Casio 5, Dela Cruz 2, Jazul 1, Reyes 0, Hontiveros 0.
SMC 84 – Devance 14, Mallari 13, Blakely 11, Simon 10, Maliksi 9, Reavis 9, Sangalang 7, Yap 6, Melton 4, Pingris 1, Barroca 0.
QS: 17-19, 39-37, 71-58, 93-84

Bill Walker nailed five three-pointers as Alaska stifled the Mixers.

Gabby Espinas played solidly in the paint for the Aces.

All images are by Nuki Sabio/PBA.

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