BACK-to-back three-pointers by JV Casio sparked a dizzying endgame rally by Alaska as the Aces kept their twice-to-beat hopes alive following a heart-stopping 91-88 win over tough luck Barako Bull in the PBA Governors' Cup Wednesday night at the Astrodome in Pasay City.
The Aces were struggling from beyond the arc for most of the game until Casio knocked down those two huge triples, touching off a 14-3 windup en route to snapping the team’s two-game losing streak in the process.
Barako Bull had its last taste of the lead at 88-87 on a baseline layup by import Mike Singletary with 23.5 seconds, but Alaska went three-of-four from the foul line in the end, courtesy of veteran Tony dela Cruz and import Wendell McKines.
The Energy Cola had one last chance of seizing the win, but Ronjay Buenafe bungled a wide-open three-point attempt that just hit the back rim in the dying seconds to seal Barako Bull’s third straight defeat.
Barako crashed out in the fight for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals with its fifth defeat in nine outings.
“Nice to win one with our defense. I noticed in our losses, we lacked the edge in us and the activity, but now that the playoffs is moving forth, it’s all about defense,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo after the win that evened the Aces record at 4-4.
Trillo also credited his boys for moving the ball well and patiently executing the triangle, which set up Casio for those crucial triples in the end.
“JV? I don’t know, but those (three-point shots) weren’t planned plays. It was nice to see them set him (Casio) up,” added Trillo.
Barako Bull managed to give a decent fight against a potent Alaska roster, despite missing the services of starting playmaker Eman Monfort.
The pint-sized point guard, the team’s second leading scorer, fractured his right pinkie in Barako Bull’s 77-81 loss to San Mig Coffee.
Alaska (91) -- McKines 21 , Baguio 15, Casio 14, Espinas 11, Thoss 8, Abueva 7, Hontiveros 7, Jazul 5, Dela Cruz 3.
Barako (89) -- Singletary 38, Buenafe 12, Seigle 11, Weinstein 7, Villanueva 7, Pennisi 7, Intal 3, Macapagal 2, Cruz 2, Marcelo 0, Jensen 0.
Quarterscores: 20-25; 39-39; 62-64; 91-89.