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Alaska sizzles in fourth to keep Kia winless, stay in playoff hunt

Calvin Abueva launches a triple over the outstretched arms of Jason Ballesteron. The Beast scored 26 points to lead Alaska in the comeback win.

By Patrick Sutare

MANILA--All of a sudden, Alaska is on a three-game winning run.

Kissing the cellar and were seen as though their things were packed for the exits, the Aces refused to fold, rediscovering their identity to keep their playoff hopes alive in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

The erstwhile bottom settlers engineered a late juggernaut to run past Kia, 104-92, on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, sending the latter reeling to its ninth straight loss in a so far winless campaign in the conference.

Calvin Abueva fueled the rejuvenated Aces, leading the charge in the payoff period where the team battled back from 10 points down to steal the crucial win.

Apart from topscoring the team with 26, the 6’2 high-octane forward was also instrumental in stopping Kia’s Geron Johnson who fell into the trap of his mind games as the Picanto faltered in the crucial stages of the match.

Johnson exploded for 39 points, nine boards and seven assists, but his late errors – caused by Abueva- and a couple of clutch baskets from the Aces took the life out of the already-ran Kia squad.

LeDontae Henton buried a huge triple with over a minute left to break the tie and create a separation, 97-94, before JVee Casio nailed a tough jumper to seal the deal for Alaska.

Henton and Casio had identical numbers of 20 points and seven assists while Ping Exciminiano manned the fore of the comeback as he forced key stops and finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three minutes off the bench.

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