Published on Jun 10, 2012
Another Setback for the Aces :(
The Alaska Aces endured their third loss in a row bowing to the Meralco Bolts, 95-100, in the 2012 Philippine Basketball Association Governors' Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last Sunday.
Another rally fell short for Alaska as time ran out on the valiant Aces who made their final stand late in the match threatening to send the game into overtime. Alaska managed to inch within three points of the Meralco lead, 95-98, with 30 seconds remaining. But LA Tenorio missed a game-tying triple from the left elbow.
The Bolts grabbed the rebound and Reynel Hugnatan finalized the count with two free throws with just 6.5 ticks left to play to seal the victory for Meralco.
The Aces now have their backs against the wall and will have to sweep their remaining four games nurse their slim chance of making it to the next round.
Alaska import Jason Forte had another statistically sound game with a team-high 24 points and 12 rebounds.But Forte was totally eclipsed by Meralco counterpart Mario West who shot the net to shreds unloading 33 points in the first three quarters alone before running out of gas in the fourth period. West added six rebounds and six assists to his stat line.
Tenorio and Bonbon Custodio had 11 points apiece for the Aces.
The ageing Asi Taulava, who faced the consensus top center in the PBA today in Sonny Thoss, was reinvigorated and played like he was 10 years younger. Taulava had solid numbers of 23 points and 12 rebounds to tally a double-double performance for the Bolts.
The Bolts (two wins, three losses) finally snapped a three-game losing spell to climb to seventh place. The loss sent the skidding Aces to the bottom of the standings with a 1-4 record.
Tied at the top of the standings are the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (4-1) and the B-MEG Llamados (4-1). The other teams include the Petron Blaze Boosters (3-2), the Powerade Tigers (3-2), the Barangay Ginebra Kings (2-2) and the Barako Bull Energy (2-2).
Bringing up the rear are the Air21 Express (1-3) and the Talk N Text Tropang Texters (1-3).
"We addressed our problems. We made the necessary changes. We found an import who can contribute on both ends and who has intensity that can rub off on his teammates especially Asi Taulava. We need to keep the same effort. We still have four games and we still have a chance," said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
Things look bleak for Alaska. After a brief two-day rest the Aces take the floor again 7:30 p.m. on June 13, Wednesday when they face the league-leading B-MEG Llamados at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska certainly has a steep climb ahead because of the format of the tournament which only has a brief single-round-robin elimination. The top six teams advance to the semifinals with their records intact. The top two teams after the semifinals advance to the championship.
Alaska Aces 95 - Jason Forte 24, Bonbon Custodio 11, LA Tenorio 11, RJ Jazul 10, Cyrus Baguio 10, Sonny Thoss 9, Gabby Espinas 8, Sam Eman 6, Tony Dela Cruz 4, Mac Baracael 2, Wesley Gonzales 0.
Meralco Bolts 100 - Mario West 33, Asi Taulava 23, Gilbert Bulawan 9, Mac Cardona 9, Reynel Hugnatan 8, Sol Mercado 6, Chris Ross 4, JayR Reyes 4, Paul Artadi 4.
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