SLR 77, Aces 85

On: 14 January 2010

SLR vs Aces

Alaska Milk is now a heartbeat away from making the semifinals.

The Aces checked their two-game skid and closed in on an outright semis berth in the KFC PBA Philippine Cup with a gripping 85-77 victory over the Sta. Lucia Realtors at the Araneta Coliseum on 13 January 2010.

"We’ve got the monkey off our back but it’s not clear yet. We still need another one. We have to keep on going and battling. Hopefully we get a better rhythm," said Alaska coach Tim Cone.

The Aces play the Purefoods Giants Friday, the Burger King Whoppers Wednesday and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters next Friday, needing just one more win for an automatic semis entry.

With a 12-3 win-loss card, the Aces are assured of at least a playoff for the second outright semis berth.

Sta. Lucia moved out of the race for the Top Two on its seventh loss against nine wins. Barangay Ginebra, at 11-6, and Purefoods, at 10-6, are the only teams left with a chance to catch up with Alaska.

"We've got a better chance to make it. One big thing going for us is that we have control of our destiny," said Cone.

The Aces made it 2-0 versus the Realtors this conference in playing steadily throughout and drawing huge breaks at endgame.

They pounced on crucial errors by the Realtors as they broke loose from a tight game at the finish.

"It was a close game that boiled down to a battle in the trenches. It showed the desire of both teams," said Cone.

"Joseph Yeo was fantastic for the second straight game. Good for us, Jeff (Cariaso) came out and provided us a real veteran presence, getting huge rebounds and huge points," Cone also said.

Cariaso finished in double figures for the first time this season, knocking down 13 points, including nine in the payoff period.

Cariaso's final basket touched off a decisive eight-to-nothing run giving Alaska a 79-72 lead with 2:15 left to play.

The Realtors managed to come to within two at 77-79 but wasted their effort on a dribbling error by Ryan Reyes and an offensive infraction by Joseph Yeo.

Sta. Lucia earlier had crucial defensive breakdowns allowing Alaska to get the 79-72 spread.

Joe Devance, LA Tenorio, Reynel Hugnatan and Sonny Thoss were the other Aces who scored in double figures.

Reyes, Yeo, Kelly Williams and Nelbert Omolon, meanwhile, carried the cudgels for the Realtors. (SB)

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