SLR 95, Alaska 75

On: 19 June 2008

PBA Fiesta Cup

Sta. Lucia Realty rose from slumber to end Alaska’s amazing streak in the 2008 Smart PBA Fiesta Conference at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.

The Realtors stopped the Aces on their tracks, 95-75, muddling up the fight for placing in the playoffs with seven playdates left in the double-round elimination phase.

It’s really nice to get back on the win-column. Hopefully, this is not a lucky win, and this could carry us to another good showing against Red Bull Sunday. One more win could change our outlook," said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez as his troops snapped their four-game skid.

A sterling showing by Lee Benson in his second game in the local pro league and tremendous support from his teammates proved to be the key as the Realtors got back on track, catching up with the Talk n Text Phone Pals, the Barangay Ginebra Kings and the Purefoods TJ Giants at 7-8.

Alaska, together with Magnolia, is now just a game ahead at 8-7, good for fourth spot, with only Welcoat having gone out of the race for the playoffs with a 4-12 record.

Sta. Lucia's victory ended Welcoat's hope of salvaging a slot in the post-elims play.

"I think we have to put the standings behind our back. It’s a tight race and we just have to come out strong in each of our last three games," said Fernandez, whose team is looking to score a double-championship in the season.

The Philippine Cup champion completed a twinkill against the reigning Fiesta Conference titlist in the elims – thanks to the double-double game of Benson and the twin-digit contributions of Nelbert Omolon, Kelly Williams and Joseph Yeo.

Benson, an ex-convict looking to make good in the PBA, completely outplayed Randy Holcomb, collaring 28 rebounds and rifling in 22 points.

Benson's 28 boards is the third best in the season after the two 29s of Chris Alexander of Ginebra.

"I think we’ve got a good import who’s really intense. I believe he can bring us to where we want to be," said Fernandez of his prized find who took over from Jamar Brown.

Benson, upstaged by Amal McCaskill the last time out, came out strong, helping Sta. Lucia establish control early.

Omolon, Williams and Yeo chipped in their share as the Realtors pounced on the Aces’ flat start and never let up for the emphatic victory.

Omolon logged 18 points four rebounds and two assists, Williams tallied 17 points and six rebounds while Yeo put in 11 points, two assists and two rebounds.

Incidentally, the team suspended Yeo in their last game as a disciplinary action for his fight with teammate Philip Butel in practice.

The Aces threw bricks in the opening quarter, shooting only 20 percent from the field.

Alaska improved its shooting in the second period but Sta. Lucia continued to set the pace, taking the half at 49-32.

Benson had logged double-double numbers right in the first half with 13 rebounds and 12 points.- (Source: PBA Site)

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