DONDON Hontiveros knocked down four free throws in the final 15 seconds to lift Alaska to a thrilling 108-103 double-overtime victory over Meralco that kept the Aces in the playoff hunt in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Left without import Damion James since the fourth quarter, the Aces turned to Hontiveros and Calvin Abueva in the second overtime to put away a win they allowed to get away in the final moments of regulation and the first extra time.
More than his offense, it was also Hontiveros' defense that proved crucial for Alaska as he forced three-time PBA scoring champion Gary David to miss all his five three-point attempts.
“Among the locals, Gary’s probably the hardest guy to guard and for at least the last eight years, I think he’s been the best player in the league without the ball in his hands,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton, after steering his team to its first back-to-back wins this conference.
“But Dondon and RJ (Jazul) did a good job defending Gary in the end, plus our team defense as well,” he added.
Abueva finished with 18 points while Hontiveros added 12 for Alaska, which moved up to a share of the sixth to ninth places with Ginebra, GlobalPort and KIA Motors on 4-5 (win-loss) records with two games left in its elimination-round schedule.
Only the top eight teams will make the playoffs.
The loss dropped the Bolts to a three-way tie for second to fourth spots with Rain or Shine and Talk ‘N Text at 6-3, leaving Purefoods Star alone at the top of the standings following a 103-96 win over Barako Bull in the first game.
The tension-filled game also saw a PBA fan suffer a heart attack after watching the game from the upper-box section of the Big Dome.
PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial said the PBA’s medical team immediately responded to take care of the still unidentified fan.
“Walang kasama 'yung fan. Nanonood daw siya sa upper box section nung biglang inatake,” said Marcial. “Inakyat namin 'yung spine board tapos dinala na 'yung stretcher namin para dalhin sa ospital.”
James led the Aces with 25 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out late in the first overtime.
Josh Davis paced the Bolts with 34 pints and 17 rebounds. Mike Cortez and Jared Dillinger chipped in 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Alaska 108 - James 25, Abueva 18, Banchero 13, Hontiveros 12, Baguio 12, Manuel 11, Thoss 8, Jazul 7, Exciminiano 2, Dela Cruz 0.
Meralco 103 - Davis 34, Cortez 16, Dillinger 15, Wilson 13, Hodge 9, David 7, Anthony 3, Ildefonso 2, Caram 2, Hugnatan 2, Macapagal 0.
Quarterscores: 24-18, 45-44, 72-69, 87-87, 97-97, 108-103