Sonny Thoss extinguished Banal’s fears Sunday night, imposing himself with Alaska’s pride on the line to lift the Aces past the Clickers, 86-80, in the PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Thoss struck twice down the stretch, his putback over the high-leaping Elmer Espiritu with 54.3 seconds left giving Alaska an 84-80 lead after the Clickers had come within a basket.
PBA Image/ Nuki Sabio
“At some point in the game, I was a little bit scared,” said Banal, whose Aces are now tied with the Powerade Tigers at 3-7 in their drive to remain in contention for the last quarterfinal spot.
B-Meg’s devastating 13-1 windup sent Barangay Ginebra to its knees, 88-76, for a share of fourth with the Meralco Bolts in the second game.
James Yap had 17 points but it was rookie Mark Barroca, Kerby Raymundo and Marc Pingris who inflicted a fifth defeat against four wins on the crowd-favorite Gin Kings.
“Our guys made some clutch plays in the stretch. They neutralized James but it kind of opened up the floor for everybody else,’’ said B-Meg coach Tim Cone.
The Llamados earned their sixth win against four setbacks after limiting the Gin Kings to a free throw in a four-minute stretch.
Yancy De Ocampo, who was earlier shipped by the Kings to the Llamados, saw little action while Rico Maierhofer, Ginebra’s newest acquisition in that trade, was good for just 11 minutes.
The Clickers, who dropped their 12th straight game, seemed on the verge of ending a long slump before they were doomed by successive misses by Espiritu, Paul Escobal and RJ Jazul.
Jazul finished with a career-high 24 points after going six of nine from three-point range.
They are now tied for the third all-time longest losing streak in a conference with Welcoat Paints, which also lost 12 straight outings in the 2007-08 Philippine Cup.
One more defeat and the Clickers will tie Great Taste and Country Fair with 13 losses in the 1982 and 1984 Reinforced Conference, respectively.
Thoss finished with 15 points and eight rebounds while Jay-R Reyes had 13 and 17 boards, his second career-best, for the Aces, who squandered a 13-point lead midway in the fourth.
ALASKA 86—Thoss 15, Reyes 13, Baguio 12, Custodio 10, Dela Cruz 9, Baracael 8, Tenorio 8, Salamat 4, Bugia 4, Eman 3.
SHOPINAS.COM 80—Jazul 24,Duncil 13, Sena 8, Hubalde 8, Sison 7, Espiritu 7, Escobal 6, Ritualo 3, Mirza 2, Daa 2, Menor 0, Aquino 0, Se 0.
Quarters: 19-18, 45-40, 71-58, 86-80
B-MEG 88—J. Yap 17, Barroca 14, Simon 12, Urbiztondo 10, Pingris 10, Raymundo 10, Yap R. 7, De Vance 5, Reavis 3.
GINEBRA 76—Helterbrand 17, Villanueva 13, Intal 10, Wilson W. 10, Cortez 10, Caguioa 6, Mamaril 4, Canaleta 3, Maierhofer 2, Wilson J. 1, Labgala 0, Tubid 0.
Quarters: 24-19, 44-38, 61-55, 88-76
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