CALVIN Abueva provided the game-long hustle while JV Casio was clutch in the endgame as Alaska nosed out San Miguel Beer, 66-63 to seize the solo lead in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
In a low-scoring and highly defensive battle that saw neither team build a decisive lead, Casio's heroics enabled Alaska to nose ahead as he hit a shotclock-beating 17-foot jumper before adding two free throws to open a 66-63 lead with 33 seconds remaining.
The Beermen got one final chance to send the game into overtime with eight seconds left after Abueva missed two free throws, but Marcio Lassiter missed a thee-point try off Sonny Thoss' outstretched arms at the buzzer.
That enabled Alaska to escape with its fourth successive win to open the season while San Miguel suffered its first defeat in as many games.
More than the win, Alaska coach Alex Compton said he was prouder of the team's defensive effort that saw it hold down the star-studded Beermen to a season low total.
“The thing I’m proud most was the 63 points (scored by San Miguel). The effort of the guys was great, I couldn’t be happier,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton, whose team is coming off a 105-64 whacking of Meralco last week.
Abueva overcame a horrendous shooting night by contributing 18 rebounds, including three on the defensive inside the final 40 seconds to go. He scored five points.
The 'Beast' was also responsible for setting up Casio for the jump shot that gave Alaska the lead for good, 64-63.
Cyrus Baguio topscored with 13 points, while Casio finished with 11 points to go with five rebounds, two assists and a steal for the Aces, whose 66 points was the lowest winning score in franchise history.
June Mar Fajardo led the Beermen with 10 points and 16 boards while Arwind Santos narrowly missed a double-double after finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds to go with four shotblocks.