Dondon Hontiveros sparks late fightback as Alaska steals game from NLEX
Alaska veteran Dondon Hontiveros scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half. Jaime Campos

DONDON Hontiveros and Calvin Abueva sparked a fourth-quarter fightback that enabled Alaska to blow past NLEX, 90-84, and reclaim top spot in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 6-2 Hontiveros poured 18 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, including a rare four-point play with under two minutes to play that sparked Alaska’s game-saving 16-3 windup.

Abueva, on the other hand, was the Aces' defensive lynchpin as he made a crucial steal off Mark Borboran’s inbound pass intended for Asi Taulava that practically sealed NLEX’s sixth defeat as against just three wins.

In all, the Aces' defense held the Road Warriors to a single field goal in the final five-and-a-half minutes to improve to a league-best 8-1 record, although Alaska coach Alex Compton feels they still need to win their last two games to assure themselves of one of the two automatic semifinal seats.

“It (eighth win) means that we’re playing as a team particularly defensively. Halata siguro sa mga manonood na di pa ganun kaganda ang opensa namin, but defensively how we're winning games,” said Compton.

NLEX, which has now lost its last two games, slipped into a tie for ninth to 10th spots with idle Barako Bull, leaving the playoff door open for expansion team KIA Motors.

Abueva registered his sixth double-double this conference by finishing with 16 points and 19 rebounds to go with three assists. Cyrus Baguio, JV Casio and Sonny Thoss all finished with 11 points.

The loss put to naught Borboran’s season-high 22 points, including five three-pointers as well as Macmac Cardona’s double-double output of 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.

The scores:

Alaska 90 - Hontiveros 21, Abueva 16, Baguio 11, Thoss 11, Casio 11, Manuel 8, Jazul 7, Banchero 3, Exciminiano 2, Eman 0, Dela Rosa 0, Bugia 0, Menk 0, Dela Cruz 0.

NLEX 84 - Borboran 22, Cardona 14, Villanueva J. 13, Taulava 10, Villanueva E. 9, Arboleda 6, Ramos 4, Canaleta 2, Camson 2, Arboleda 2, Hermida 0, Raymundo 0, Apinan 0, Baloria 0.

Quarterscores: 23-15, 40-42, 55-58, 90-84 

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