CEBU CITY - Petron clinched the championship of the 2013 Sinulog Cup Saturday night with a resounding 100-93 win over Alaska in what serves as a big boost to the Boosters’ coming campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
New acquisition Ronald Tubid proved to be the catalyst for the Boosters in the tightly-fought, highly-physical match, scoring 11 of his 14 points in the third period, including nine in a big 14-3 run.
The energetic guard capped the binge with a step-back three off Alaska rookie Calvin Abueva that gave Petron a 77-65 lead heading to the final quarter.
Just before Tubid took over, tempers flared on both sides that saw Abueva get in a heated exchange of words with Tubid and Jay Washington.
Even the coaches stole the spotlight as Alaska deputy Louie Alas nearly came to blows with Petron counterpart Biboy Ravanes following an alleged obscene gesture made by the Aces aimed at Boosters import Renaldo Balkman.
The Boosters then extended their lead to 80-67 on a completed three-point play by Dorian Pena.
But Abueva willed the Aces back in the game pitting the two unbeaten teams in this short, pocket tournament.
An Abueva basket and two free throws by point guard JV Casio had the Aces threatening at 86-91 that was momentarily stopped by a thunderous Balkman slam that had the crowd at the Cebu Coliseum up on its feet with 2:09 left in the game.
Alaska closed in for one final time on a three-pointer by Cyrus Baguio to cut the deficit at 89-93, before Washington converted on a straight-away three-pointer and Balkman completed three-point play to put the Aces away for good, 99-89, with 42 seconds to go.
Balkman continued his impressive performance with a game-high 31 points in helping the Boosters complete a three-game sweep of the tournament, including victories over Ginebra and M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala.
Pena finished in double figures for Petron with 11 points.
The Aces, who finished with a 2-1 (win-loss) record got 30 points from Robert Dozier, while Abueva and Baguio finished with 17 and 15, respectively.
The tournament comes a week before the mid-season tournament Commissioner's Cup comes off the wraps at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.