ALASKA’S OTHER ROOKIE DELIVERS AS ACES REGAIN SOLO LEAD
IT DID not take long for Alaska to solve the puzzle of who will fill the void created by the absence of Jvee Casio.
Rookie Raffy Reyes ably orchestrated the Aces’ plays and his teammates gamely responded, resulting in a 93-85 victory over Globalport Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Robert Dozier finished with game-highs of 26 points and 18 rebounds and the Aces also drew significant contributions from Cyrus Baguio and its other, more prominent rookie Calvin Abueva as they notched a seventh win in nine games that broke them out of a tie with Petron Blaze at the top.
Yet the one who drew kudos most from head coach Luigi Trillo was Reyes, who was entrusted with the starting point guard chores and promptly pointed the Aces to the big bounce-back from a 68-74 loss to Air21 last Friday.
“It’s nice to see Raffy Reyes step up. He really settled our team down,” said Trillo after the 25-year-old guard they tabbed in the second round of last year’s annual Draft proved up to the task with eight points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
The son of former pro Elmer Reyes capped his performance with a key jumper that sparked Alaska’s final and most decisive breakaway.
“Credit Raffy, he’s a pro,” added Trillo. “But this is the time where you step up for each other.”
Casio first sat out the Air21 game and is expected back only in Alaska’s next game Saturday against San Mig Coffee.
“By Wednesday we have to make sure that thing (injury) is taken cared of,” said Trillo. “It’s just precautionary. With our current wins this is the time to rest it.”
Globalport showed up with a full complement but still absorbed a sixth straight loss that dropped it deeper in the cellar with a 2-7 slate in all.
Willie Miller came off the bench for 22 points, Gary David had 20 and Sol Mercado 13 on top of eight assists, but the Batang Pier drew only two points from import Walter Sharpe.
Playing in his second game after replacing Justin Williams, Sharpe scored the game’s first basket but missed all his next six shots, his stint limited to just 20 minutes by foul trouble before he incurred his sixth and last with still 4:23 left.
The player Batang Pier coach Junel Baculi wanted to step up most, Japeth Aguilar, was also beset by foul trouble, notching three with two in succession just 15 seconds apart between the first and second quarters. He wound up with eight points.
Despite its big men woes, Globalport still managed to put up a gallant stand that saw it trim two 16-point deficits to just 72-76, following Miller’s triple and a twisting drive, still 8:21 left.
Then Alaska’s final decisive poise kicked in, surprisingly exemplified by Reyes’ keyhole jumper before Dozier and Abueva took over.
Abueva laced his 15-point, seven-rebound performance with a floater, a three-point play off Sharpe’s last foul and a drive while Dozier scored six points to make it a safe 91-76 count, going to the game’s last 2:02. (NC)
ALASKA 93 – Dozier 26, Abueva 15, Baguio 10, Reyes 8, Espinas 8, Jazul 7, Thoss 6, Hontiveros 5, Ramos 4, Dela Cruz 4.
GLOBALPORT 85 – Miller 22, David 20, Mercado 13, Aguilar 8, Yee 7, Aljamal 4, Antonio 4, Mandani 3, Sharpe 2, Adducul 2, Juntilla 0, Salvador 0.
Quarterscores: 22-13, 48-36, 71-61, 93-85
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