After dropping the first game of the series, Alaska Aces is just one win away from its first finals stint in the PBA post-Tim Cone. The ironic thing is that it could happen against the team that their former coach is now handling - the San Mig Coffee Mixers. Youngsters Calvin Abueva and RJ Jazul combined to do some damage in the game 3 of their series in the PBA 2013 Commissioner's Cup Semis. The Aces managed to pull off an OT victory against the Mixers during the opening game of Wednesday's action via an 89-82 game.
The Aces can wrap up the series when the two teams meet again on Saturday, but coach Luigi Trillo does not want to get too excited at the prospect. Instead, he wanted to instill in his players' minds that "it's just another game". He then adds, "we can't get too excited."
He should know well enough as he's coached this team under former head coach Tim Cone's wing. Trillo is right to think so as Cone is confident that this series ain't over yet. He quips, "We've been here before, we've handled this situation before." Ironically, Cone wanted the Game 4 to take place soon because he was hoping for his team to "carry the emotion into the next one."
Rookie Calvin Abueva came off the bench during Game 3 but still ended up with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, RJ Jazul, who also came off the bench, contributed 6 points during overtime to spark the Aces to its win.
The performance over at San Mig Coffee Mixers isn't paltry, though. Denzel Bowles chipped in 19 points and 15 rebounds while Marc Pingris and Mark Barroca each had 15 points under their names. By the relentless charge from the Aces staved them off, despite holding a 16-point lead at one point in the game. They also nearly lost during the remaining seconds of regulation, but extended the game when Bowles converted his free throw with the game time shy of 5 seconds. They, however, had 5 turnovers at the overtime period on top of a poor 1-of-5 shooting percentage.
Aside from Abueva, four other Aces players scored in double figures namely Cyrus Baguio, JV Casio, Sonny Thoss, and Rob Dozier.
Talk N Text (85) def. Brgy. Ginebra (79)
The story for the other series in the PBA 2013 Commissioner's Cup semis is a case of deja vu. Talk N Text dropped the first game of the semis but won the succeeding two, even with a new import in tow after they let go of 7-footer Jerome Jordan. Talk N Text took a gamble by replacing their import and it paid off, such that they are now at the threshold of the finals. Tony Mitchell was former Rookie of the Year at the NBA Developmental League and he staged an impressive showing that lived up to his reputation. He helped the Texters gain a 2-1 lead in the series via an 85-79 win versus the Brgy. Ginebra squad.
The 6-foot-5 import exhibited tremendous flair on the court and agility. Talk N Text head coach noted how they're "in a very interesting situation". He reveals that they did not have any expectations coming into Game 3 of the Semis series but he is happy with how Mitchell played.
If Black has learned anything in the PBA, though, he knows that you can't be overconfident. "The series is far from over," he notes. "They had not seen Tony before and had no idea how to prepare against him. But they've seen him once and they will surely be ready in the next game."
Black also did not forget to acknowledge his locals, whom he felt stepped up given the fact that Jared Dillinger and Jimmy Alapag did not suit up for Game 3. Mitchell scored 29 points overall, but Fonacier contributed 20, Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo both had 15 points. The rest showed even scoring and he got contributions from nearly anyone he brought to the court.
On Ginebra's end, import Vernon Macklin led them in scoring with 17 points along with Kerby Raymundo. But no other player, aside from Tenorio, scored in double figures.
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