18 March 2015

Bolts 103, Aces 108

Bolts vs Aces
Three nights after a triple-overtime thriller in Davao, Alaska outfought Meralco in a double-overtime grind to get back into strong contention for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Tuesday night.

Old reliables Sonny Thoss and Dondon Hontiveros took over in the second OT as the Aces eventually fended off the Bolts, 108-103, to move up to joint sixth place with the Barangay Ginebra Kings, the GlobalPort Batang Pier and the Kia Carnival at 4-5.

Thoss and Hontiveros scored four points each in the second extension play and the Aces played tough defense all the way to the finish, helping the Purefoods Star Hotshots seize league leadership at 7-3.

With their third loss in their last four games, the Bolts went down to joint second with the Talk n Text Tropang Texters and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 6-3.

"I’m proud of our locals," said Alaska coach Alex Compton lauding his local guys for salvaging the game after import Damion James fouled out with 47 seconds to go in the first overtime.

"I really thought that we’re gonna close it out in the end but Meralco’s got incredible character, they made shot after shot," Compton also said. "We made mistakes that could have been back-breaking but our guys just kept on playing."

Thoss converted back-to-back low-post maneuvers off Josh Davis to start the second OT which the Aces eventually wrapped up on four crucial free throws by Hontiveros in the last 15 seconds.

The Bolts made key stops in the dying seconds of regulation play, then leaned on a three-pointer by John Wilson to send the game into second overtime.

Meralco eventually yielded the game as Gary David fired duds at the finish.

James delivered 25 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out. Adding double-digit outputs were Calvin Abueva (18), Chris Banchero (13), Cyrus Baguio (12), Hontiveros (12) and Vic Manuel (11).

Going down the drain on Meralco’s loss was another solid all-around effort by Josh Davis who netted 34 points, 17 rebounds, four assists and two steals against one turnover.

It was a dogfight marked by 18 deadlocks and 15 lead changes with no team leading by more than nine.

The Aces started and finished stronger to get a follow-up on their 82-68 rout of the Blackwater Elite the last time out.

"We were really trying to make a push to get into the playoffs," said Compton.

"Ang problema dikit-dikit at tambak kami sa GlobalPort at sa Barako. We need help from friendly teams to beat teams that beat us," Compton added.

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