FINALS: Powerade Tigers 1 - 3 Talk N Text Tropang Texters
Published on November 29, 2011

IT WAS not exactly a reprise of their first meeting, but Petron Blaze still came out on top through the skin of its teeth against Alaska Tuesday.

The Boosters repeated over the Aces, 90-85, to come closer to realizing a Top 2 finish in the eliminations of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

Arwind Santos scored a game-high 24 points and combined with Danny Ildefonso and Denok Miranda for the biggest plays in the stretch that enabled Petron to unleash a decisive 7-0 windup.

It was the sixth straight victory by the Boosters, giving them a 9-3 win-loss slate overall. 

All that remains for the Boosters is to triumph over sister team Ginebra on Friday and against Talk N Text on Tuesday to secure at least a No. 2 finish and a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. 

Alaska absorbed its ninth loss in 12 outings and now finds itself on the brink of not getting past the elims for only the third time in the last 32 conferences and first time since the 2009 Fiesta Conference. 

The only hope the Aces have is for them to sweep their remaining matches against TNTand Rain or Shine, while Powerade, idle at eighth-running spot with a 5-7 record, loses its last two outings. 

Petron coach Ato Agustin was simply glad his team came out a winner against an Alaska squad that put up a gallant stand despite the absence of some injured key players, among them Tony dela Cruz and Brandon Cablay. 

"I told my players not to underestimate Alaska because me chance pa iyan," said Agustin. "Hindi easy ang game na ito. We had to play hard para manalo." 

Petron won over Alaska, 86-80, on Nov. 5 after holding Alaska scoreless in the last 1:35 of play. Tuesday's match was an eerie duplication of that first encounter. 

LA Tenorio's triple and Marnel Baracael's undergoal stab started and capped a 9-2 charge by the Aces that gave them an 85-83 edge, 1:39 to go. 

Following a timeout, Ildefonso found Miranda for a reverse that tied the score for the seventh and last time. And then Santos took over. 

He drained a baseline jumper and swiped the ball in a double-team with Miranda against Baracael, before tipping in a missed charity by Ildefonso to peg what would prove to be the final score in the last 12.8 seconds. 

Tenorio could only kick himself after committing the costly miscues that led to Alaska's defeat. 

He first made a pass intended for Bonbon Custodio out of the sidelines and then lost the handle on the ball while driving in off a tap by Joseph Yeo. 

All those helped put to waste Alaska's tough stance that saw it come charging back from a 15-point deficit in the opening quarter and keep within 60-64 after the third period. 

Petron's new skills coach, Alex English, who planed in only Monday evening, sat at courtside and personally watched the Boosters actually play for the first time. 

The eight-time NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer will help handle Petron for the next two months, according to San Miguel Corp. basketball operations chief Robert Non. (NC) 

The scores: 

PETRON BLAZE 90 - Santos 24, Cabagnot 20, Miranda 14, Reyes 8, Yeo 8, Ildefonso 7, Baclao 4, Tugade 3, Guevarra 2, Doruelo 0, Agustin 0, Sharma 0. 

ALASKA 85 - Thoss 19, Baracael 13, Tenorio 13, Custodio 10, Reyes 10, Baguio 10, Bugia 6, Salamat 4, Eman 0. Quarterscores: 21-9, 39-38, 64-60, 90-85


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