NIGERIAN import Solomon Alabi scored on a putback off his missed shot with 2.5 seconds left to lift Barako Bull to a pulse-pounding 93-91 overtime victory over Alaska in the main game of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Tuesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The 7-foot Alabi, double-teamed every time he has the ball at the post, finished the game with a team-high 23 points, while collaring 19 rebounds and four blocks.
Alaska had a chance to snatch the win but Dondon Hontiveros’ desperation three-point attempt went hard off the iron, allowing Barako Bull to end its two-game skid.
More importantly, the Energy climbed up to joint third spot with idle Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 4-2, just behind league-leaders Meralco and Talk ‘N Text, which carry identical 5-1 win-loss record.
Meantime, the Aces’ loss forged a three-way logjam at eighth to 10th spots with KIA Carnival and NLEX. All three teams carry similar 2-4 records.
“The guys showed yung sense of urgency namin because we talked about it after losing back-to-back games,” said Barako Bull coach Koy Banal.
“I just reminded them about our experience last conference when we lost five consecutive games before we were able to arrest that.”
Banal also commended youthful big man Dave Marcelo, who came two rebounds short of a double-double after finishing the game with 18 points and eight boards.
Damion James, playing just his second game in the league since replacing DJ Covington, exploded for 39 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and three blocks.
Vic Manuel was the lone Alaksa local player to score in double figures after finishing with 13 points off the bench.
Controversial Calvin Abueva was limited to just five minutes after playing under the weather.
The ‘Beast’ went scoreless, but had two rebounds. He was never fielded back in the second half after being slapped with a flagrant foul penalty one for figuring in a shoving incident with Alabi late in the second quarter.
Barako Bull (93) -- Alabi 23, Marcelo 18, Mercado 15, Lastimosa 12, Intal 12, Pascual 6, Garcia 4, Lanete 3, Chua 0, Hubalde 0.
Alaska (91) -- James 39, Manuel 13, Exciminiano 8, Jazul 8, Baguio 6, Menk 6, Hontiveros 3, Dela Rosa 2, Espinas 2, Dela Cruz 2, Casio 2, Banchero 0, Abueva 0.
Quarterscores: 22-21; 45-43; 66-65; 85-85 (reg); 93-91.