Petron sends Alaska to the brink of elimination
by rick olivares pic by brosi gonzales
November 29, 2011
Smart Araneta Coliseum
The problem with getting killed inside for layups and short stabs is it forces a team to play zone. Woe to the defensive team when their opponent has been taking good shot selections and sinking it from long range.
With only a little over a minute to play and the score tied at 85-all and the Alaska Aces running a 2-3 zone, the Petron Blaze Boosters worked the ball around the perimeter waiting for the defense to stretch. Alex Cabagnot, on the left side of the arc, passed the ball to Joseph Yeo who was at the apex of the three-point arc. Yeo whipped it to Denok Miranda who was at the right side who in turn found a suddenly open Arwind Santos for a baseline jumper to break the tie.
Petron would seize the lead that they would not relinquish and before the night was done, they found themselves in first place following their 90-85 win and B-Meg Derby Ace’s victory over the injury-plagued Talk ‘N Text, the erstwhile league leader.
Alaska, fighting consistency and sorely lacking a sense of urgency in the Philippine Cup after losing Tim Cone right before the season began, twice had to overcome leads. They grabbed a late fourth quarter lead after Mac Baracael scored inside with 1:39 left to play. But Miranda scored on a reverse layup and Santos hit that baseline jumper.
On the opposite end of the court, Alaska disintegrated in a maze of uncharacteristic turnovers coming off LA Tenorio of all Aces. After Tenorio missed a three-point attempt, Miranda scored on his reverse. After Santos’ jumper, Tenorio threw an inbound to no one and the ball sailed away without Alaska getting off an attempt. After holding Petron on the other end, Tenorio once more lost possession on a drive to the basket with the Boosters’ Danny Ildefonso getting the loose ball and a foul. Ildefonso canned a free throw, missed the second that Arwind Santos tipped in over Baracael for the game’s final points.
Petron pushed Alaska into an early 15-point hole at 18-3 and nine minutes of play in the first period. The Aces rallied in the second to come within a point at the half 39-38 behind Jay-R Reyes and Mac Baracael who combined for 15 points. Alaska seized the lead in the second half at 46-40 but Arwind Santos’ incredible play highlighted by a flush off a fastbreak following a Tenorio turnover brought Petron back.
Petron once more put some distance when Miranda hit a pull-up jumper for an 83-76 lead with 3:34 left to play. But also leveled matters until Santos’ final deadlock breaker.
The win gave Petron a 9-3 record (TNT fell to second with an 8-3 slate) while Alaska dropped to 3-9 right above winless Shopinas at 0-12. The Aces are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since the Fiesta Conference of 2009 and if that happens, it will be only the third time in their career that will happen. The Aces have to win their final two matches and hope that Powerade loses their final two elimination round games.
Watching the Blaze Boosters’ win was former NBA great Alex English who is now the club’s shooting coach.
Petron 90 - Santos 24, Cabagnot 20, Miranda 14, Reyes 8, Yeo 8, Ildefonso 7, Baclao 4, Tugade 3, Guevarra 2, Doruelo 0, Agustin 0, Sharma 0.
Alaska 85 - Thoss 19, Baracael 13, Tenorio 13, Custodio 10, Reyes 10, Baguio 10, Bugia 6, Salamat 4, Eman 0.