PETRON escaped with its seventh successive win in the PBA Governors Cup on Friday night, 103-100, after Alaska gunner Dondon Hontiveros' game-tying three-point shot rolled out at the buzzer.
Ahead 103-100 with 9.9 ticks left, athletic Petron import Elijah Millsap muffed two free throws after being fouled by Cyrus Baguio, opening a door for Alaska to make a last-ditch comeback.
Alaska super rookie Calvin Abueva went streaking down on the other end but was quickly fouled by Arwind Santos, sending the former NCAA MVP for a pair of free throws.
Alaska rookie bungled his first attempt, giving him no choice but to deliberately miss his second attempt as well. Abueva grabbed the rebound of his own miss with under six seconds to play, setting Alaska up for a potential game-tying three-point shot.
Abueva then found Hontiveros from behind the arc, who despite the leech-like defense of Petron guard Alex Cabagnot, managed to launch a three-point attempt that just kissed the glass before rattling out, sending the Aces down to their fourth loss in seven games.
“We want to build the right foundation and character for the team. And in this game, we got lucky. Alaska is a tough team. They showed they are a hard opponent,” said Petron rookie coach Gee Abanilla, whose team improved to a league-best 7-1 record.
“They (Aces) gave us a tough time. Dondon almost made that shot to tie the game.”
While Petron had nothing to lose in this considering that it already earned a quarterfinal seat and a twice-to-best edge going to the quarterfinals, the Boosters still played tough defense all throughout the match.
The Boosters in fact took advantage of the Aces’ eye-popping 25 turnovers by converting them to 30 turnover points.
The Aces slumped to 3-4, in a tie with idle Globalport Batang Pier, their hopes for a top four finish suddenly in danger.
Millsap again led the Boosters with 35 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and five steals, while Marcio Lassiter added 19 points, 10 in the final period.
Wendell McKines led Alaska with 33 points and 19 boards, while Sonny Thoss added 17.
Petron 103 - Millsap 35, Lassiter 19, Lanete 16, Santos 10, Fajardo 7, Lutz 7, Tubid 5, Kramer 2, Cabagnot 2.
Alaska 100 - McKines 33, Thoss 17, Abueva 16, Casio 13, Baguio 10, Dela Cruz 6, Hontiveros 4, Eman 1, Jazul 0, Espinas 0.
Quarterscores: 30-27, 51-45, 79-74, 103-100