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Purefoods Star Hotshots 86
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Alaska Aces 92
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ALASKA GAINS SHARE OF LEAD

romeo travis

Alaska outhustled and outmaneuvered Star in the fourth quarter, carving out a 92-86 win to tie Barako Bull at the top of the PBA Governors’ Cup leaderboard at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.

Romeo Travis came up with another sterling all-around game and led a strong Alaska finish that had the team pulling even with the Energy atop the heap at 4-1.

“I was worried and petrified before the game knowing they (the Hotshots) play their best when their back is against the wall. I’m happy to come out with the win,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.

Alaska made a key run from 68-all at the start of the fourth quarter and went on to snap three straight losses to Star in their head-on duels.

The Aces avenged their quarterfinal series loss to the Hotshots last conference, and put coach Tim Cone and his troops in a more precarious spot in the current tourney at 1-4.

The Hotshots suffered a fourth straight defeat, tying their longest losing streak under Cone. They absorbed earlier losses to the GlobalPort Batang Pier, the Meralco Bolts and the San Miguel Beermen.

Travis churned out 27 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and five steals with Vic Manuel, Cris Banchero and Dondon Hontiveros providing significant help in the payoff period as they bounced back from a heart-rending 103-104 loss to the Talk n Text Tropang Texters the last time out.

The well-built, hardworking Alaska import knocked in a fall-away shot and then a short straight jumper as the Aces raced to an 83-72 lead – the biggest spread in the contest.

The Hotshots actually fought to within four at 79-83 on a seven-point binge by James Yap and Marqus Blakely but Rome dela Rosa, Benchero and Eric Menk helped Alaska regain control at 88-81.

Before Alaska took the 11-point lead, no team enjoyed a lead of more than eight through the first three quarters.

The Aces tightened up on defense and pounced on crucial errors by the Hotshots in seizing control in the fourth quarter.

Alaska enjoyed a 27-14 advantage on points off turnovers in the end.

“With Purefoods, you have to grind it out,” said Compton. (SB)

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