Alaska survives late ROS run to stay unbeaten in finals rematch


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Alaska survived a late Rain Or Shine rally to walk away with a 105-102 victory in the rematch of last year's PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.

The Aces lost a 14-point lead, but the Elasto Painters failed to sustain the comeback as a crucial turnover and a missed buzzer-beater haunted them.

Alaska held a 75-61 lead midway in the third quarter, but ROS scored 10 straight points to cut it to just four, 75-71.

The Aces momentarily regained control of the ballgame, but the E-Painters used an 11-0 blast to go up, 91-87.

The game went down the wire from there, but a huge blunder from Mike Tolomia, who sparked ROS' second half surge, hurt the team's chances.

Looking to tie the game after a Cory Jefferson put the Aces ahead, 101-99, Tolomia tried to drive through the rack, but he dribbled off his right foot and lost the ball to the baseline, giving them the ball back with 23.1 seconds left.

Jvee Casio then sank two free throws to up the lead to four, 103-99, with 16 seconds remaining.

Shawn Taggart kept the game interesting with a triple to cut the lead to one, 103-102, with 8.6 seconds left.

Casio once again showed nerves of steel after sinking two more charities for a three-point Alaska cushion with 7.4 seconds left.

Tolomia had a huge chance to force overtime, but his long three rimmed out as time expired.

Jefferson's go-ahead triple capped a 41-point explosion from him while adding 13 rebounds, three assists, and one block for the Aces, who remain unbeaten at 4-0.

Taggart finished with 40 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal for the E-Painters.

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