F Aces beat Texters to force Game 7 in PBA semifinals - Powcast Sports

Aces beat Texters to force Game 7 in PBA semifinals

By Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- Alaska broke out of the gates hard and never looked back, scoring a 94-83 decision of Talk ‘N Text Sunday night to forge a rubber match in their PBA Fiesta Conference best-of-seven semifinal series at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

The Aces played with energy the whole game and humbled the Tropang Texters on both ends, enjoying leads of as many as 18 points early and 19 late in the fourth.

“We had a really good game in terms of execution and playing both sides of the ball,” Alaska coach Tim Cone told reporters. “We took a little advantage of our quickness and that surprised them somewhat.”

Alaska will be playing its third straight Game 7 against the same foe, with the Aces losing the last – in the Philippine Cup Finals two seasons ago.

“We will just come out and execute our game plan,” Cone added, referring to Wednesday’s game. “They came out a little soft (Sunday night) and we were able to take advantage of that. But I don’t think that they will come out the same way (for Game 7).

“It will be 50-50,” Cone said.

Diamon Simpson scored 21 points, had 18 rebounds and three blocks and Cone used just seven more men who contributed offensively while playing hard-nosed defense all night.

After surging to a 30-12 lead late in the first period, the Aces kept the Texters within arm’s length the rest of the way with Talk ‘N Text coming no closer than two points at 57-59 before Alaska methodically wheeled away again.

Reynel Hugnatan knocked in a short jumper with 6:41 left for 87-68, and that basically doomed the Texters, who couldn’t sustain a last-gasp stand that had them coming within 83-91 on a Jason Castro layup with 2:19 left.

Cyrus Baguio stole off Jimmy Alapag on the next Talk ‘N Text play, scooting away alone for a layup that restored a 10-point lead with 1:45 left.

“Up until that point, actually, we didn’t feel that we were in any comfort zone,” said Cone, who bared that starting center Sonny Thoss would be out for the rest of the series because of chipped bones in his left foot.

The dilemma now for Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes, who got an unpleasant 47th birthday gift because of the loss, is whether he needs to change imports at the 11th hour because it was evident that Shawn Daniels wasn’t the reason why they lost the game.

“The worst part of this loss is that we got outworked,” Reyes said.

Daniels scored 16 points and had 11 rebounds, and together with Alapag, kept the Texters in the game after the Aces had taken that 18-point lead in the first period.

But Alapag, after scoring all of his 20 points in the first half, 15 in the second period, was bottled up in the final two quarters and failed to score the rest of the way.

The game was intense in the first 24 minutes, as several flagrant fouls were called. Even team owners Wilfred Steven Uytengsu of Alaska and Manny V. Pangilinan of Talk ‘N Text were seen screaming in the sidelines.

The scores:

ALASKA 94 - Simpson 21, De Vance 19, Baguio 14, Tenorio 12, Dela Cruz 11, Borboran 8, Hugnatan 8, Fonacier 1.

TALK ‘N TEXT 83 - Alapag 20, Castro 19, Daniels 16, Williams 11, De Ocampo 7, Dillinger 4, Carey 3, Cardona 2, Yee 1, Aban 0.

Quarters: 31-17, 54-43, 77-63, 94-83.

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