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Alaska nears sweep of finals with comeback Game 3 win over SMB

By Jason Espiritu

LUCENA--Alaska can already smell it and feel it.

The Aces moved an inch closer to avenging their two previous finals losses to the San Miguel Beermen with an 82-75 Game 3 win at the Quezon Convention Center on Friday night.

As the team did in Games 1 and 2, Alaska banked on clutch plays, defense, and its "we-not-me" attitude to propel for a 3-0 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals series.

Trailing from the second canto to the middle of the fourth, Alaska’s confidence never wavered.

Alaska was trailing heading into the fourth but caught a break when Jay-R Reyes, who was playing his best game of the series, caught Vic Manuel with a swinging right elbow in the face. Reyes was called for a Flagrant Foul 2 and was ejected.

It proved to be a crucial momentum swing that helped Alaska go on a 7-0 run to take a 72-68 lead.

Then Arwind Santos came up with a huge four-point play to tie the game at 72-all.

Defensive plays from both clubs ensued after Santos big triple with Sonny Thoss and Marcio Lassiter exchanging emphatic blocks.

Alex Cabagnot scored on a great play call by Leo Austria after a timeout to give San Miguel a 75-74 lead, but that would be San Miguel’s last points of the game as Alaska went on to finish the match on an 8-0 run anchored by RJ Jazul’s back-to-back crucial baskets.

Alaska can hoist the all-Filipino conference trophy with a win on Sunday at the Philsports Arena. San Miguel, on the other hand, will have its last chance of avoiding a sweep.

Box Scores:

Alaska 82–Manuel 17, Abueva 13, Thoss 12, Baguio 11, Banchero 7, Jazul 6, Baclao 6, Menk 5, Casio 4, Dela Rosa 1, Hontiveros 0, Exciminiano 0, Dela Cruz 0

San Miguel 75–Reyes 13, Tubid 10, Cabagnot 9, Santos 9, Arana 9, Lassiter 8, Espinas 8, Lutz 4, Ross 3, De Ocampo 2, Heruela 0

Quarterscores: 20-17, 31-41, 55-58, 82-75

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