Alaska coach Alex Compton knew his team had to play with great composure against Barangay Ginebra’s pressure.
The Aces gave what their coach wanted in overtime and were rewarded with a 109-100 victory Sunday in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
LaDontae Henton scored 29 points and joined hands with Jayvee Casio and Calvin Abueva in a big 11-2 surge from a 96-all count that finally put Alaska beyond reach of Ginebra’s clutches.
“I was telling the boys that whenever we play Ginebra we must play with poise under pressure,”said Compton. “Overall, we did, particularly in overtime.”
Casio’s runner and three-point shot and similar treys by Henton and Abueva, against a reverse by LA Tenorio made it a safe 107-98 difference before Chris Banchero’s layup all but iced the game 109-98, only 34 ticks left.
That OT fade came after Ginebra gallantly battled back from as much as a 25-40 deficit and managed to make it a close contest that eventually featured seven deadlocks, six in the second half and extension.
Despite a continuous battle with cramps on his right leg that prompted Kings coach Tim Cone to periodically sit him out in the second half and OT, replacement import Justin Brownlee still wound up with 31 points and 13 rebounds.
Sol Mercado, LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar ably stepped in to fill up the gap and Ginebra even had the chance to win it outright in regulation.
“Ginebra showed great resolve, poise,”noted Compton. “They kept coming and coming. Sana lahat ng imports na makalaban namin mag-cramps.”
The Kings, however, could not keep pace with their foes in the extension and ultimately dropped to a 1-1 card that tied them with the Aces and idle Blackwater, Rain or Shine and NLEX.
“Ang import nila may cramps, while ours was fresh,” was how Compton summed up the big difference in the extra five minutes.
Proving to be a blessing in disguise was the flagrant foul-penalty 1 slapped on Henton after being called for a landing spot rule against Mercado, forcing him to sit out five minutes starting at the 7:22 mark of the fourth quarter.
“We had that crucial stretch where I was really worried,” admitted Compton, referring to Ginebra taking advantage of Henton’s absence to grab the upper hand 94-92, still 2:06 left in regulation.
Joe Devance, however, could not put the game away for Ginebra when he missed two charities and compounded matters by committing his sixth foul on RJ Jazul, who calmly sank two charities that pegged a 94-all tie, a count that stood when Mercado missed the game-winner before the buzzer.
ALASKA 109 – Henton 29, Banchero 19, Jazul 14, Abueva 12, Casio 7, Manuel 6, Thoss 6, Hontiveros 5, Menk 5, Racal 3, Baclao 2, Exciminiano 1, Magat 0.
GINEBRA 100 – Brownlee 31, Mercado 22, Tenorio 13, Aguilar 9, Ellis 8, Caguioa 4, Cruz 4, Mariano 4, Thompson 3, Devance 1, Marcelo 1, Bonifacio 0, Helterbrand 0.
Quarters: 33-25, 53-46, 76-70, 94-94, 109-100.
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