Kings, Aces eye semifinal berths
First Posted 03:57:42 10/04/2011
Filed Under: Basketball, PBA Commissioner's Cup, Alaska Aces, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, Air21 Express, LA Tenorio, Hassan Adams
MANILA---Air21 must find a way to stop LA Tenorio while Rain Or Shine must get import Hassan Adams out of a funk.
Otherwise, Alaska and Barangay Ginebra will decide the quarterfinal playoffs and complete the semifinal cast of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup tonight.
The Aces, who escaped with a 91-89 win in their best-of-three opener with the Express after Sonny Thoss tipped in a Tenorio miss with almost no time left, go for the clincher at 5 p.m. duel at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Tenorio had earlier buried three three-pointers in the final two minutes and 41 seconds, erasing an eight-point Express advantage and forcing a tie with 36.3 ticks left before Thoss’ freakish game-winner.
An early ending to their own duel with the Elasto Painters is the target of the Gin Kings, who were dominant in a 100-91 win that saw Adams falter big time with just 12 points.
“LA had a good feel about the game and put it in his hands,” said Alaska coach Tim Cone Friday. “I can’t help but compare LA with Johnny Abarrientos. Johnny used to make those kinds of end-game decisions and now LA is doing them for us.”
Abarrientos led the Aces to a grand slam in 1996 when he emerged as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
“Hopefully we learn from our last best-of-three. We had Game 1, laid flat in Game 2 and before we knew it, we’re out,” said Cone, who likened the Express to the San Miguel Beer team of old.
Danny Seigle, Dondon Hontiveros and Dorian Peña, who helped the Beermen capture a number of championships together, are now the leading figures for Air21.
Nate Brumfield’s consistency has been the key for the Kings, who limited Adams, a former New Jersey Net, to a conference-low output on four of 11 shooting.
“We’d like to think of Game 2 as the start of the series again for us not to relax,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Jong Uichico.