Alaska Aces defeated Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and sweep their series to bag the Commissioner’s Cup Title.
The Alaska Aces got really going as the game progressed, resulting in a 104-80 victory over the Barangay Ginebra Kings Sunday to complete a sweep of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship series before an all-time record crowd of 23,436 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rob Dozier validated his being adjudged the Best Import earlier with gamehighs of 27 points and 20 rebounds while Calvin Abueva, Jayvee Casio and Sonny Thoss also came up with big performances in the game they wanted most to win.
In the end, the Alaska Aces took just the first three games in the best-of-five duel to nab their 14th franchise title in all and the first one without former coach Tim Cone.
“We were a bit lucky,” said Luigi Trillo, assistant for 14 years before assuming the helm, initially in an interim capacity, only three conferences ago.
“They have injuries over there and this is a different Ginebra team we played. I think they were a bit tired,” added Trillo. “But we have built a good foundation for this team and our new additions were the pieces we needed. These are good guys, character guys.”
The 36-year-old also admitted he didn’t imagine it would take this quick for him to win one. “Sa totoo lang hindi,” he said.
“If anybody had asked me kung tatalunin namin ang Ginebra in just three games, I would have said no. If we are better than Ginebra by 30 points coming into the series, I would have said no.”
The victory also made owner Uytengsu feel like he was when the team won its first championship in 1991, five years after joining the league.
“This makes me feel like I’m 24 again,” said Uytengsu, before giving Ginebra praise. “They’re worthy opponents,” he stated.
The loss is not as bitter for Ginebra as some may think.
“Classic iyung dinaanan namin,” said Kings coach Alfrancis Chua, whose team got off to a 0-4 start before hurdling second-seed Rain or Shine in the quarterfinals and powerhouse Talk N Text in the semifinals, both with twice-to-win handicaps.
“Masarap pa rin ang feeling,” added Chua. “Hindi ko inakalang makakapasok kami sa championship. I know it’s 3-0, pero sa dami ng injuries, siguro nga para sa kanila (Alaska).”
When the Uytengsu franchise won its last four titles under Cone, the last the 2010 Fiesta Conference.
Diamon Simpson was the Best Import then and Dozier showed he is a worthy recipient of the first-ever Bobby Parks Trophy.
Dozier also had gamehighs of seven assists and six blocked shots, leading a balanced charge that had Abueva notching 22 points and 10 rebounds, Casio 18 points, including eight points in the fourth, and Thoss 13 points and 14 rebounds.
In all, Thoss averaged 13.7 points and 10 rebounds for the series. But more than those numbers it was his excellent defense on Vernon Macklin throughout the series that made him the unanimous choice as the Papa John’s-PBA Press Corps Finals MVP.
Even Ginebra’s best effort in the series, coming off 70-87 and 90-104 losses in the first two games, was not enough.
It was just the eighth sweep in a best-of-five since the format was first adopted in 1993 and all because of a determined crew not wanting another game.
It showed in the way Alaska Aces held Ginebra to just eight points in the fourth period while scattering 33 of its own.
The Aces’ defense was at its stingiest in the final 6:15, when it held the Kings to just two free throws and broke them away for good from an 84-79 count.
Ginebra was a sorry sight then, going 0-for-4 from the field and committing the last of its 13 turnovers, with the split charities by Kerby Raymundo and Jayjay Helterbrand the only ones that prevented them from a complete shutout.
Seemingly running on fumes, Best Player of the Conference awardee LA Tenorio still managed 18 points with Chris Ellis, Mark Caguioa and Helterbrand leading Ginebra’s one last fight. Hobbled by a badly bruised right thigh, Macklin was held to only 12 points although he did finish with 14 rebounds.
ALASKA 104 – Dozier 27, Abueva 22, Casio 18, Thoss 13, Baguio 7, Jazul 6, Hontiveros 5, Reys 3, Espinas 2, Belasco 1, Ramos 0, Eman 0, Bugia 0, Laure 0, Dela Cruz 0.
GINEBRA 80 – Tenorio 18, Ellis 14, Macklin 12, Caguioa 12, Helterbrand 11, Baracael 5, Raymundo 4, Urbiztondo 2, Mamaril 2, Taha 0, Labagala 0, Espiritu 0, Hatfield 0.
Quarters: 23-20, 44-48, 71-72, 104-80