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Aces crawl back from 22 down, get Game 1 win

By Ivan Saldajeno

Alaska completed a comeback from a lackadaisical first quarter to stun San Miguel in overtime, 88-82, in Game 1 of their PBA Philippine Cup finals series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Aces got blown out early on by the Beermen, ending the first quarter with the latter up, 27-5.

But the Aces slowly chipped away the 22-point deficit, and by a three-pointer from R.J. Jazul gave them the lead, 63-62, with 6:20 left in the fourth quarter.

Alaska stretched the lead to three after Cyrus Baguio scored off a steal from Jvee Casio.

But San Miguel still put up a fight, even retaking the lead, 72-69, with less than three minutes left in regulation.

But Casio equalized anew with a triple for a 72-all count with 2:33 left in the fourth.

After a split from Chris Lutz, Dondon Hontiverors, who sparked the Aces' comeback with his triples, scored from 15 feet to go up, 74-73, with 40.1 seconds to go in regulation.

Alex Cabagnot then got smothered by the Alaska defense, and so did Marcio Lassiter as Calvin Abueva grabbed the loose ball.

But Casio, after the timeout, slipped on the floor as Chris Ross forced the jumpball.

Ross won the tip-off, and Junemar Fajardo, who was asking for a timeout, was fouled by Abueva.

Fajardo split his charities to tie the match with 8.8 seconds left.

Casio misfired on a running jumper, but Lutz rushed a desperation heave that hit nothing, leaving 1.2 seconds for Alaska to steal the win in regulation.

Hontiveros, however, sorrily missed the buzzer-beating triple against Fajardo's outstretched arms, and five more minutes was added.

The Aces raced to an 9-2 run to start the overtime session to go up, 83-76.

But Lutz kept the Beermen in the game as he completed a three-point play to cut the lead to four, 83-79.

Hontiveros split from the line to momentarily stretch Alaska's lead to five, 84-79.

Cabagnot and Arwind Santos misfired on their hurried three-point tries, and Abueva once again grabbed the rebound.

Casio scored two free throws to put the Aces up, 86-79.

Ronald Pascual kept the game interesting with a three-pointer off the glass.

But Abueva, who struggled from the free throw line in the Philippine Cup, sealed the win with two free throws to complete a 12/13 clip from the charity stripe.

He totaled 22 points and ten rebounds for Alaska.