The Alaska Meralco Game 3 was another satisfying basketball match as Alaska Aces moved one step closer to another championship appearance as they defeated the Meralco Bolts, 92-72 and take a 2-1 series lead in their semis matchup in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.
Bouncing back from a heartbreaker of a loss last time out, the Aces made sure that this one would not get away. Their lockdown defense was on full display in the game and resulted to a lopsided win against the Bolts.
Alaska coach Alex Compton said in a post-game interview, “We defended for 39 minutes in Game Two. We played defense for 48 minutes tonight.”
Rob Dozier, Calvin Abueva, and Chris Banchero carried the defensive and offensive load for the Aces. Dozier had 25 points and 14 rebounds. Abueva also had a double-double night with 23 markers and 12 boards.
Banchero had a perfect 3-of-3 clip from rainbow country to add to his 16 points. The Filipino-Italian guard stepped up in the absence of veteran playmaker Jvee Casio who is in the injury list.
Alaska poured in the points in the third and fourth periods to rally back from a 10-point deficit in the second quarter. They scorched the Bolts with 28 points in the third frame to head out to the final canto with a 66-54 advantage.
Meralco had a miserable offensive night as import Arinze Onuaku was held down to 16 markers. Jimmy Alapag, Cliff Hodge, and Reynel Hugnatan had 12 points each. Jared Dillinger, the hero in the previous game only scored nine points.
The Bolts will have a two-day reprieve before they take on the Aces in Game Four on Monday. The Aces are gunning for a third straight finals appearance.