SLR 95, Alaska 89

On: 09 November 2008

PBA's 34th Season

Alaska Milk is again on the run and back atop the heap.

The Aces blew away a 23-point bulge but survived the Sta. Lucia Realtors, 95-89, in a tight finish to regain a share of the lead with the San Miguel Beermen in the KFC PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome Friday night.

Willie Miller converted a single field-goal basket in the fourth quarter -- a trey which proved enough to turn the tide back in their favor as the Aces held off the Realtors to again draw level with the Beermen atop the leaderboard at 6-2.

"Eight games into the tourney, this is where we want to be," said Alaska head coach Tim Cone.

"We overcame some adversities in this game. Rey (Hugnatan) got injured right in the first half, Sonny (Thoss) got five fouls and Joe Devance started cramps late in the third. These hurt us," Cone also said. "You also have to give it to Sta. Lucia. They played well without Ryan (Reyes). They couldn't make their shots in the first half but wouldn't miss in the second half."

The Realtors threatened to steal the game on a torrid attack in the fourth quarter that had them surging ahead at 89-87 entering the last two minutes of play.

The Aces, however, regrouped at crunch time, going to Devance, Miller and Thoss for the key baskets, clinching a second straight win following a 93-84 overtime win over the Barangay Ginebra Kings last Sunday.

There was no bigger shot in the contest than the three-pointer Miller converted with time down to 15.7 seconds pushing Alaska back on top at 92-89.

The Realtors never recovered and suffered a fourth defeat against three wins.

"When he took that shot, I knew that was it. That really changed things," said Cone.

Miller finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in another sterling all-round game. LA Tenorio paced the team with 17 points with Devance also pouring 16 points, Larry Fonacier 12 and Tony dela Cruz 11.

Converting more than 50 percent of their shots, the Aces dominated the Realtors in the first 24 minutes of play, taking the half at 45-34.

They gained decisive headway in the second period, outscoring the Realtors, 21-13, on a 64.3-percent field goal shooting as against Sta. Lucia's 26.7-percent clip.

Miller and Dela Cruz led the Aces in the first two quarters with the former piling up nine points, four rebounds and three assists and the latter putting in eight points, six rebounds and one assist.

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