#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Finals Roundup: January 18, 2015

The San Miguel Beermen failed to close out the Alaska Aces in Game 6 of the 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, paving the way for a seventh and deciding contest this coming Wednesday.

Game recap (adapted from InterAKTV):

Box Scores.
The gutsy Alaska Aces came up big in a potential elimination game, defeating San Miguel, 87-76, on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum to force a do-or-die Game Seven duel for the PBA Philippine Cup championship.

Sonny Thoss was huge in Game 6 as the Aces forced a do-or-die Game 7.
(image by Nuki Sabio/PBA)
The Aces, so used to adversity in these playoffs, came back from a 14-point first half deficit and needed to weather a 10-0 San Miguel run in the fourth period, but they came out on top to tie the series at three games apiece.

Dondon Hontiveros scored 18 points, 14 of them in the first half, while three other Alaska players finished in double-figures as they survived another tough encounter with the Beermen.

Dondon Hontiveros had another strong shooting night for the Aces.

Sonny Thoss had 13 points and 9 rebounds, Vic Manuel added 12 points, and Cyrus Baguio had 10 in the victory.

Alaska guard JV Casio broke out of a two-game scoreless slump to finish with 9 points on 4-for-8 shooting.

Alaska coach Alex Compton continued to make changes, using a fourth different starting lineup in six games in this series with rookie Chris Banchero taking Ping Exciminiano’s place in the first five.

San Miguel, though, took complete advantage in the opening minutes, jumping out to a 14-point lead, 18-4, behind the aggressive play of Alex Cabagnot and some outside sniping from Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter.

Marcio Lassiter's 19 markers went down the drain for the Beermen.

Calvin Abueva, once again the first man off the Aces’ bench, changed the flow of the game, though, knocking down two baskets as Alaska hit three of five field goal attempts after going one for their first 10.

They finished on a 12-5 run but caught a terrible break when ‘The Beast’ was whistled for a third personal foul late in the opening period.

Though Abueva would miss the rest of the first half, the Aces seemed to not miss a beat, especially early in the second. They fired off the first nine points of the period – all of them from Hontiveros and Manuel – as they stormed back and took the lead, 26-23.

They went on another tear late in the period with Thoss kicking it off with a pretty pivot move in the post that erased reigning PBA MVP and Best Player of the Conference June Mar Fajardo for an easy bucket.

Fajardo, who had 19 points and 13 rebounds in Game Five, only had two points and seven boards at the halfway point of this one.

The two teams traded runs in the fourth period, but it was Alaska that landed the most telling blows in the contest.

With a lead of six points, 72-66, the Aces turned it up in a 11-0 run, highlighted by some big shots like a running a fadeaway jumper from Casio near the baseline and a three-pointer from Hontiveros in transition.

Alaska led by a high of 17 points, 83-66, after the rally.

San Miguel rallied back, scoring 10 straight points to come back within seven, 83-76, but only had 1:27 left to erase the rest of the difference.

Thoss then stuck a clutch jumper along the baseline to make it a nine-point lead, 85-76, with 42 seconds left to seal the deal.

Line of the Game: Arwind Santos - 22pts, 6rebs, 2blks, 1ast, 4 triples.

Vic Manuel provided a strong lift, too, dropping a dozen points off the bench.

Unless otherwise specified, all images are by Pranz Kaeno Billones/Sports5.

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