It was really not the night meant for the Alaska Aces to pull one over their former coach.
Denzel Bowles and his San Mig Coffee teammates pounced on a hot Alaska team that suddenly blew cold, preserving coach Tim Cone’s perfect record against the Aces.
Making the biggest damage in the middle quarters, San Mig Coffee bowled over Alaska, 75-68, ending the Aces’ unbeaten run in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.
Worse, the Aces endured a seventh straight loss in their head-on duels with Cone.
“I don’t delight in beating them, but neither do I want them to be successful against us,” said Cone, downplaying his remarkable winning record against his former team.
“We’re trying to get .500 and make the playoffs. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Talk n Text, Petron or any other team,” Cone added. “If ever, extra motivation was we’re up against a team that’s 5-0. We had to be sharp.”
The Mixers came out sharp and pummeled the Aces badly in the second and third quarters en route to hitting the .500 mark with a third win against the same number of losses.
San Mig Coffee caught up with Barako Bull and Meralco at fourth spot and dragged Alaska down to joint first with Petron at 5-1.
“They didn’t shoot well tonight. We had a bunch of accidental defenses, leaving Jayvee Casio wide open and he didn’t make it,” said Cone of the Aces who struggled with a woeful 30.6-percent clip.
“We spent the game exploiting mismatches and we rode on Denzel’s back. That’s the game plan and it worked,” Cone added.
Bowles and his teammates worked on all cylinders in the middle quarters, opening a 24-point spread at 60-36.
The Mixers outscored the Aces, 28-10, in the second period and, 22-11, in the third canto.
Second-stringers RJ Jazul and Gabby Espinas fueled a baby rally in the payoff period as the Aces made the count a little close at the end.
Bowles collected 16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocks, and drew huge support from James Yap, Mark Barroca, Joe Devance and PJ Simon.