WITH Alaska up by 20 points and headed into the finals of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup, Ping Exciminiano picked Jay Washington’s pocket from the backcourt and coasted on a breakaway layup.
The sequence said it all for the energetic playmaker, who showed no signs of letup for Alaska in the team’s 118-89 blowout of GlobalPort in Game Five of their semifinal series Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Exciminiano typified the Aces’ brilliance on both ends of the floor as his pesky defense sparked Alaska’s fast-break points and instigated the lopsided outcome.
He finished with a career-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting, on top of five boards, three steals, and one assist in 23 minutes.
“Thankful ako sa nangyari (career-high), but for me, bonus lang sakin yun,” Exciminiano insisted. “Kasi alam naman natin na role ko more on defense talaga.”
“Mas proud pa rin talaga ako sa defense ko,” he added. “Hopefully, lagi ko nang magawa na dumi-defense ako and at the same time, nakaka-offense.”
Excimiano proved to be the x-factor in the Aces’ victories in the series. After playing just five minutes in Game One where he only saw action in the second half, the former Far Eastern University standout was thrust into the starting lineup and averaged 19.8 minutes the rest of the way.
“Ping is one of the premier defenders in the league,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “We need him to use his energy and defensive capacity to try to slow down their studs.”
Exciminiano definitely had a hand in Batang Pier Terrence Romeo getting relatively shackled after firing 41 points in the series opener.
“Ginagawa kong motivation kapag na-stop ko yung mga binabantayan ko. Kapag na-stop ko sila, malaking motivation na sakin yun.”
His familiarity with his college teammate helped.
“All throughout college, lagi kaming magkasama nyan so alam ko laro niya, alam niya laro ko,” Exciminiano said of Romeo. “But Terrence is Terrence e, mahirap talaga depensahan yan.”
WATCH: Alaska's Ping Exciminiano on defense and Terrence RomeoPosted by SPIN.ph on Tuesday, January 12, 2016