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Alaska comes back from huge deficit for 2-1 Finals lead over SMB

By Rick Arlos

Trailing by 18 points entering the fourth quarter, the Alaska Aces went on a pulsating run in the final 12 minutes to stun the San Miguel Beermen, 78-70, and grab a 2-1 edge over their opponents for the 2014-15 Philippine Cup crown.

Down 46-64 entering the last quarter of play, the Aces went on a 20-1 blast to open up the 4Q and in the process grab a 66-65 lead on a layup and two charities coming from Ping Exciminiano under five minutes to go in the period.

The Beermen were able to tie things anew with Alex Cabagnot getting a bucket to knot the count at 68-apiece. However, this would prove to be the last deadlock of the game as the Aces went on a 10-2 spree to close out the match courtesy of baskets coming from Sonny Thoss and Jvee Casio.

Just like in Game 1 in which they rallied from a 22-point deficit to win in overtime, the Aces were again relentless on the defensive end especially in the 4Q. Alaska was able to limit SMB to only six points in the period, the lowest output in a fourth quarter in the franchise’s storied history.

Calvin Abueva had a double-double performance for the Aces with 16 points and a match-best 15 rebounds. He also had 5 assists and a block for a solid all-around effort.

Fellow Cabalen Arwind Santos of SMB also churned in a double-double night as well, scoring 20 and hauling down 11 but was not able to score a single digit in the final period.

Game 4 is set on Wednesday, January 14, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.