ALASKA ousted Barangay Ginebra, 114-108, on Friday night to advance to the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals, while sending the Gin Kings to a frustrating end to another trophy-less season.
The top-seeded Aces overhauled a 16-point deficit in the third quarter behind their stingy pressure defense that led to their transition offense and eventually the come-from-behind victory.
Romeo Travis led the way with 29 points and 21 rebounds, while Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel provided the energy off the bench for the twice-to-beat Aces, who endured a slow start against the league’s most popular team.
“It’s always tough to play Ginebra because they are the home team all the time…but I felt like my guys really stepped up,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “How many times do you see the character of the guys that I get to coach every day?”
The Aces will thus face the survivor of the GlobalPort-Star pairing in the Final Four.
For a while, though, Ginebra showed more desire and eager to force a rubber match as the crowd favorite established a 65-49 lead with four minutes gone by in the third quarter.
But the Aces finally started to regain the form that made them the eliminations topnotchers as they clawed back behind Travis, who pumped in 11 of his 29 points in the third period.
The Aces seemed to be further fired up after a commotion involving Abeuva and the Gin Kings’ Orlando Johnson, LA Tenorio, and coach Frankie Lim less than four minutes to go with Alaska still down by 11, 72-61.
From that point, however, the Aces outscored the Gin Kings, 16-5, to turn the game around and take a two-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Then Manuel took over, scattering 11 of his 14 points in the payoff period, before Johnson led the Gin Kings’ late rally the fell short, scoring 18 of his 28 points in the final frame.
ALASKA 114 – Travis 29, Manuel 14, Thoss 14, Hontiveros 13, Baguio 10, Banchero 9, Abueva 8, Casio 7, Dela Rosa 5, Jazul 3, Exciminiano 2, Baclao 0, Menk 0
GINEBRA 108 – Johnson 28, Mercado 21, Slaughter 19, Aguilar 15, Tenorio 14, Kim 5, Baracael 4, Marcelo 2, Pena 0, Monfort 0, Brondial 0
Quarterscores: 27-31, 45-53, 75-77, 114-108