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    Alaska's Thoss, Espinas pounce on Pingris' absence to break San Mig's spirit

    Dec 27, 2013

    ALASKA Milk leaned on a whirlwind fourth-quarter offensive and tough interior defense to clobber fierce rival San Mig Super Coffee, 88-75 in their PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine match up on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    With San Mig missing power forward Marc Pingris due to an injury, Alaska’s big men, particularly Gabby Espinas and Sonny Thoss, repeatedly attacked the paint, almost scoring at will in the second half.

    While the Mixers managed to hang on until the start of the final period, trailing by just 55-62, Alaska detonated a telling 16-6 blast in the final stretch, breaking San Mig’s will in the process.

    “Our first group was there, but  the guys in the second group, RJ Jazul, Gabby Espinas, it really was just a collective team effort,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo after the Aces' fourth win in 10 starts.

    “We knew they were tough coming into this game because they were in a two-game win streak. I heard they also had some sick guys so we took advantage of that.

    "Pingris changes that team so without him, they are very different.”

    The Aces got 16 points, 11 boards, five assists and two blocks from Thoss, while Espinas added 15 and seven rebounds in Pingris' absence.

    Calvin Abueva also had 15 points, along with 10 boards, while Cyrus Baguio and Jazul chipped in 14 and 10, respectively in a balanced scoring attack for Alaska.

    James Yap and rookie big man Ian Sangalang scored 21 and 13 points, respectively, and were the only bright spots for San Mig, which dropped to eighth spot in the standings with a 3-6 win-loss record.

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    The scores:

    ALASKA 88 - Thoss 16, Espinas 15, Abueva 15, Baguio 14, Jazul 10, Ramos 8, Casio 6, Eximiniano 4, Dela Cruz 0, Hontiveros 0.

    SAN MIG 75 - Yap 21, Sangalang 13, Devance 9, Barroca 6, Simon 6, Acuna 5, Mallari 5, Reavis 4, De Ocampo 2, Gaco 2, Holstein 2, Cawaling 0, Melton 0.

    Quarterscores: 16-22, 35-35, 62-55, 88-75

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