14 February 2013

Bolts 81, Aces 85

Robert Dozier continues to improve and Alaska's usual pillars are mostly there.

Result is the Aces' 85-81 victory over Meralco Wednesday (13 February 2013) that gave them a share of the lead in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Dozier notched game-highs of 27 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots in pointing Alaska to a second win in as many outings and a slot alongside idle leader Barako Bull.

"Dozier is coming to his own," said Trillo of his import who came in as a fourth choice after the likes of former LA Laker DJ Mbenga, Meralco’s Eric Dawson and Talk N Text’s Keith Benson begged off.

"His versatility is just fun to watch. He does a great job composing himself, on focusing on the job. He's definitely staying with us."

Yet Trillo still believes Dawson would have been better for him and the Aces’ triangle offense.

"He's a good passer, so he'd be better within the triangle. I think he would have been dominant with us in this conference," said Trillo. "But he said he's not interested."

Denied his comfort place in the mid-posts by a defense anchored on Sonny Thoss Dawson was limited to just 15 points, 22 below his debut game that resulted in a win over the Philippine Cup titlist last Saturday.

He also had 13 rebounds but shot just 5-for-16 from the floor and got limited to just three points in the fourth period unlike 16 the first time out.

"We had to put focus on Dawson and credit goes to Sonny. What a performance for him, defensively," noted Trillo.

Still, Meralco put up one gallant fight that saw the Bolts plug away at a 41-54 deficit, briefly take the upper hand and cling to within striking distance in the endgame due to Ronjay Buenafe’s exploits.

Buenafe's second triple of the game moved Meralco within 78-82, with still 1:33 left, and his last one pulled the Bolts within 81-83.

Tony dela Cruz, however, canned two charities to practically ice the game and seal Alaska’s followup to its more harrowing 83-81 cliffhanger over Rain or Shine last Saturday.

"We’re lucky to hold on to this win," noted Trillo.

Despite some back pains Calvin Abueva scored seven of his 20 points in the fourth period and added eight rebounds while Cyrus Baguio added 16 points, 10 in the second half.

Rookie Vic Manuel led Meralco with 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench and Buenafe added 14 points, but Macmac Cardona only had 11 and missed a drive that could have further trimmed Alaska’s four-point lead in the last 22 seconds. (NC)

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