Alaska sweeps Star with comeback Game 3 win

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--The last of Star's grand slam titles is gone.

A new PBA Governors' Cup champion will be named soon as Alaska dethroned Star in fashion--a three-game sweep of their best-of-five semifinals series--via an 82-77 come-from-behind win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.

The Aces bucked a slow first half and crawled back from a late deficit to clinch the series.

Down 34-44 late in the second quarter, Alaska picked up the pace in the third period, taking a 58-56 lead before a 9-2 Star run handed the team the edge anew going to the fourth.

The Aces opened the payoff period on an 11-4 run to retake the advantage, 71-69, but the Hotshots answered with six straight points to go up, 75-71.

Alaska completed the late fight back with an 11-2 run to clinch the first seat to the best-of-seven championship series, which could start as early as Friday.

Romeo Travis scored 19 points to lead the Aces to their 28th finals appearance, the second-most all-time behind the San Miguel Beermen, who are battling the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters for the other berth in the last dance. Both teams are tied, 1-1, in their best-of-five series with Game 3 taking place on Monday at the same venue.

James Yap scored 20 markers for the Hotshots, who had to disrupt the twice-to-beat advantage of the GlobalPort Batang Pier in the quarterfinals to keep their title defense hopes alive.

Box Scores:

Alaska 82-Travis 19, Manuel 14, Baguio 11, Dela Rosa 11, Casio 9, Banchero 5, Abueva 5, Thoss 4, Hontiveros 4, Baclao 0, Jazul 0.

Star 77-Yap 20, Blakely 15, Mallari 9, Pingris 8, Devance 8, Taha 6, Barroca 5, Reavis 4, Simon 2, Melton 0, Pennisi 0

Quarterscores: 16-23, 37-46, 60-65, 82-77