HOT-STARTING Alaska Milk turned Game One of the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals into a one-team show, fashioning out an 87-70 win over Barangay Ginebra that was so one-sided it left a huge pro-Kings crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with so little to cheer about on Wednesday night.
A 14-0 start triggered by back-to-back jumpers by JV Casio set the tone for a mismatch that saw the Aces lead from opening tip to the final buzzer against a jittery Ginebra squad that could not seem to shoot straight and never got untracked all evening.
Alaska's lead reached as much as 30 points, 54-34, early in the third quarter and the Ginebra fans from the over 17,000 crowd that packed the historic Big Dome who stayed around up until the fourth quarter expecting another miracle fightback witnessed none.
Instead, it was an all-Alaska show all the way as a ballclub that had shone all tournament took a 1-0 headstart in the short best-of-five series and stayed on course for its first league championship in three years, its 14th overall, and the team's first in the post-Tim Cone era.
“It’s huge for our confidence. It’s a short series, five games, so they had tired warriors out there. I think we did a good job of really taking away their strengths,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
Best Import candidate Robert Dozier had another dominant defensive performance, grabbing 22 rebounds to go with two steals and three blocks while contributing 14 points for the Aces.
Ginebra, coming off an highly charged semifinal series against Talk ‘N Text that went the distance, started poorly and never recovered. The Kings’ six first-quarter points went down as the all-time lowest opening quarter in league history - and the third all-time lowest output in any quarter in a league Finals.
Vernon Macklin was held to just 16 points on nine field goal attempts, visibly affected by the pesky interior defense of Sonny Thoss and Dozier.
Tenorio added 14 but shot a miserable 4-of-18 from the field while semifinal heroes Kerby Raymundo, Jayjay Helterbrand and Mac Baracael could only combine for 17 points on a combined 6-of-22 shooting.
The closest Ginebra got was 11 points, 68-79, nearing the final two-minute mark, but the threat ended just as quickly when Tenorio forced up a shot against three Alaska defenders and Thoss hit a basket at the other end with the shotclock winding down, time down to 1:59.
A desperate Ginebra coach Al Chua dug so deep into his bench he ended up using 14 players for Game One, but no one was able to get untracked against a resilient Alaska defense.
ALASKA 87 - Jazul 16, Dozier 14, Thoss 12, Abueva 10, Casio 10, Baguio 10, Espinas 9, Dela Cruz 4, Hontiveros 2, Belasco 0.
GINEBRA 70 - Macklin 16, Tenorio 14, Raymundo 9, Helterbrand 7, Espiritu 6, Labagala 4, Urbiztondo 4, Maierhofer 4, Mamaril 2, Caguioa 2, Ellis 1, Baracael 1, Wilson 0, Hatfield 0.
Quarterscores: 28-6, 46-24, 67-48, 87-70