04 December 2015

Bolts 86, Aces 88

Cliff Hodge
Alaska had to go through the wringer to beat Meralco, 88-86, to regain a share of the top spot in the 2016 Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup last 3 December at Mall of Asia Arena.

RJ Jazul made the go-ahead 3-pointer, 84-81, after dusting off Jimmy Alapag with a fake with 31.7 seconds left before the Aces preserved their seventh win in eight games by making four out of six free throws.

"I guess in our league you'll take any win you get and I really don't think Meralco’s record is indicative of their talent and their coach," said a displeased Alaska head coach Alex Compton.

The Aces had seven players with at least nine points led by Cyrus Baguio and Vic Manuel, who scored 13 points each. JVee Casio added 12 points built on three triples while Jazul and Hontiveros came off the bench and contributed 11 points apiece.

Meralco’s Cliff Hodge led all scorers with 25 points, including a triple that tied the game at 81 with 55.7 ticks remaining.

It was a game between two teams placed at the opposite ends of the standings with the Bolts, who fell to 1-8, dead last.

But Meralco gave Alaska quite a scare after coming back from a 10-point fourth quarter lead. A pair of free throws by Jimmy Alapag trimmed the Aces’ advantage to just two, 80-78, with still 1:42 to go.

"We aspire for excellence and I think we got to be better than we showed tonight," Compton said. "W got out-rebounded and we had 22 turnovers. They (Meralco) did a good job against us. They outworked us."

Alapag had eight points and eight assists. His last dime that led to a jumper by Hodge at the 5:42 mark of the fourth quarter moved him in a tie with Willie Generalao as the fifth all-time leader in assists with 3256.

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