SAN Mig Coffee completely outplayed, outhustled, and outshot Alaska, 103-83, jumpstarting its PBA Philippine Cup championship bid on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Mixers, the former B-Meg Llamados, shot an astounding 64.4 percent (42-of-65) from the field, while holding the Aces – their pre-season tormentor - to a poor 30.7 percent (27-of-88) shooting en route to the lopsided win.
“Everybody played well, we moved the ball well, we defended well. And when you do that, everything clicks for you,” said winning coach Tim Cone.
Cone said they were expecting the worst prior to the game considering the Aces beat them twice during the preseason, including one in a pocket tournament in Cebu City two weeks ago.
“We lost to them twice in preseason. We weren’t 100 percent back then. But they haven’t had (rookie Calvin) Abueva yet. They just came in with great expectations before the game,” Cone said.
“So we just jumped the gun on them, and we were really shooting very well off our ball movement. I think that kind of discouraged them a little bit,” added the San Mig Coffee coach, who is gunning for a record-tying 15th PBA title this conference.
Legendary coach Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan, author of the first-ever Grand Slam in the league as Crispa mentor in 1976, holds the most number of championships won with 15.
The Aces, one of the top performing teams during the preseason, were out of sync throughout the game. Veteran gunner Dondon Hontiveros, acquired by the team in the LA Tenorio trade during the offseason, led Alaska with 14 points.
The 6-foot-1 Hontiveros scored eight of the Aces’ nine straight points in the latter part of the third period to push Alaska to within 69-56.
But the Mixers just had too many weapons in their arsenal, relying on key baskets from sophomore guard Andy Mark Barroca and PJ Simon that sealed Alaska’s doom.
The Aces were hoping to start the season on the right foot, especially after trading away the team’s cornerstone in Tenorio.
In return, the franchise got longtime Smart Gilas starting point guard JVee Casio, while adding last season’s NCAA MVP Abueva whom they tapped as the No. 2 overall pick in the rookie draft.
The 6-foot-1 high-leaping Abueva, though, will only join the team after the NCAA season.
Casio, meantime, struggled offensively against the quick defensive response of the Mixers, as he finished with only three points on 1-of-9 shooting from the field. The former La Salle superstar went 0-of-6 from beyond the arc.
On the other hand, San Mig Coffee turned to big man Yancy de Ocampo, who barreled his way through Alaska’s token defense to finish the game with a team-best 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, along with 13 rebounds, six assists, and two shot blocks.
James Yap added 20 points, while Barroca and Simon chipped in 16 points apiece in a balanced scoring for the Mixers.
San Migs is now tied with opening day winner Barangay Ginebra, along with Barako Bull, Rain or Shine and defending champion Talk ‘N Text with similar 1-0 records.
The Mixers didn't play JC Intal, who is still nursing a left knee injury, while Joe De Vance, who missed the Governors Cup last season, was finally back in the team. He played 11 minutes and finished with two points, a rebound, and two assists.
San Mig Coffee (103) - De Ocampo 22, Yap 20, Barroca 16, Simon 16, Ramos 6, Villanueva 6, Pingris 5, Gonzales 4, Reavis 4, Gaco 2, De Vance 2. Ponferada 0, Pacama 0
Alaska (83) - Hontiveros 14, Baguio 13, Baracael 12, Espinas 12, Dela Cruz 8, Cablay 7, Reyes 6, Thoss 6, Casio 3, Eman 2, Belasco 0
Quarterscores: 34-25, 57-42, 75-56, 103-83.