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Behind Rhett's triple-double, Blackwater stuns Alaska


By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Nearly a month ago, Alaska held a 3-0 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

Now, including the surprise finals collapse, the Aces lost five straight.

Blackwater gave Alaska a rude Commissioner's Cup welcome with a 107-101 victory at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday night.

Two weeks after squandering the once-thought invincible finals series cushion and lost to the San Miguel Beermen, the Aces had to play all-Filipino with Rob Dozier sidelined due to a late injury.

The Elite, led by MJ Rhett, took advantage of Dozier's absence by opening a 22-10 lead in the first quarter.

Alaska, however, slowly got back into the ballgame and took the advantage, 33-32, in the second quarter, eventually turning the match into a seesaw battle for the rest of the quarter.

Blackwater tried to pull away anew in the third period, stretching its lead to 13, 68-55.

But the Aces answered with a 13-5 run to trim the gap to five, 73-68.

The Elite would reopen the huge margin, extending it to as high as 15, 95-80, and appeared to be holding on.

One final push from Alaska saw Blackwater's lead cut down to just four, 105-101, with 55 seconds remaining, and Alaska had a chance to draw closer following a Poy Erram turnover.

But Jvee Casio missed an all-important three-pointer with 13 seconds left, and Carlo Lastimosa sealed the Elite's win with two free throws.

Lastimosa finished with 24 points, two rebounds, and three assists, while Rhett had a triple-double of 18 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists along with two blocks and one steal for Blackwater, which beat Alaska for the first time in franchise history and also notched its first-ever winning streak.

Vic Manuel led Alaska with 20 points, two rebounds, and two assists.

Box Scores:

Blackwater 107-Lastimosa 24, Cervantes 21, Rhett 18, Gamalinda 12, Cortez 10, Reyes 10, Dela Cruz 6, Canada 3, Erram 2, Tiongson 1, Golla 0

Alaska 101-Manuel 20, Thoss 18, Baguio 16, Abueva 11, Casio 10, Banchero 9, Dela Cruz 4, Racal 4, Eman 3, Jazul 3, Eximiniano 2, Dela Rosa 1, Vanlandingham 0

Quarterscores: 27-23, 51-50, 80-70, 107-101

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno