Coffee Mixers deal Aces their first loss

It seems like San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone continues to teach youthful Alaska mentor Luigi Trillo a few old tricks.

The resurgent Mixers gave the erstwhile unscathed Aces a dose of their own medicine, essaying a 75-68 victory Wednesday night to gain a share of the fourth spot in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Reigning Best Import Denzel Bowles bucked another foul-plagued outing with 16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocks but it was the team’s collective suffocating defense that pointed San Mig Coffee to its third straight win against as many losses, forging a three-way tie at fourth with Meralco and idle Barako Bull.

ALSO READ: New UAAP rule is final; Ateneo, UP voted against it

Alaska, which stayed at the top spot with a 5-1 mark, never got its usual smooth offensive flow going until uncorking a last-ditch fightback, only to be quelled by Bowles and Co.

“We played a great game especially defensively,” noted the 6-foot-10 Bowles.

Cone, who led the Aces to 13 league titles including a rare grand slam in 1996, also improved to 6-0 against his former team since bolting the Alaska camp in September 2011 to join San Mig Coffee (then known as B-Meg).

Former two-time league MVP James Yap tallied 11 points while three other teammates added 10 apiece for the Mixers, who bucked a slow start by making life miserable for the Aces in the second canto, turning a six-point deficit into a 40-28 lead at the break.

During that period, Alaska misfired 15 of its 18 attempts from the field and Trillo was even assessed a technical foul.

Joe Devance joined the fray for SanMig in the third, tallying eight of his 10 points before a PJ Simon transition bucket put them comfortably ahead 60-36.

A triple by Mark Barroca, who also finished with 10 points, restored the Mixers lead at 69-49 before the Aces, sparked by RJ Jazul, uncorked a 19-4 charge, pulling them within eight, time down to just 1:47.

In the ensuing play, Bowles turned a missed Yap lay-up into a putback slam then swatted rival Robert Dozier’s short-stab, virtually sealing the deal for SanMig Coffee.

Dozier collected 16 points and 18 boards while Sonny Thoss and Jazul combined for 23 markers for the Aces, who shot 22-of-72 (30.6 percent) from the field.

So suffocating was the Mixers’ defense that the Aces’ usual sources of production–JVee Casio, Cyrus Baguio and rookie Calvin Abueva–could only get a combined 16 points on a horrendous 4-of-26 clip.

“They didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight. We spent the game trying to exploit mismatches, jumping on Denzel's back and relying on our defense, it served us well,” stated Cone.

“I tell the team ‘We gotta get to .500 and try to work from there.’ It was a horrible first three games. We kinda developed a blueprint on how we want to play now,” he added.

ALSO READ: The Philippines as a basketball mecca

Earlier, Chris Ross came through with clutch plays in the final minute to help Meralco pull off another pulsating win, an 89-88 decision over Air21.

Import Eric Dawson collected massive stats of 35 points, 19 rebounds and three steals but it was the late-game exploits of the 6-foot-1 Ross that enabled the Bolts to gain a fitting follow-up to their pulsating 90-89 victory over GlobalPort last Feb. 24.

More importantly, Meralco gained a share of the fourth spot while Air21 dropped to the cellar anew with its fifth straight setback, slipping into the company of Barangay Ginebra.

Redeeming himself from two big turnovers that enabled the Express to build an 88-85 lead with two minutes to go, Ross made the go-ahead charities off a Mark Isip foul with 11.9 seconds remaining then stole the leather from Air21 guard Mike Cortez at mid-court before milking the clock as time expired.

Ross, clearly taking the mantle left by Sol Mercado who was traded to GlobalPort prior to the start of the conference, only had five points but had 12 assists, five steals and two rebounds in another all-around outing, enough to earn plaudits from coach Ryan Gregorio.

“Big credit goes for Chris Ross. It is really basketball education for us. It’s just a great relief throughout this learning and we’re finding ways to win. I am just so happy with the kind of warrior mentality my players have. Its shows our team is coming long very well,” he said.

Import Michael Dunigan imposed his will to a game-high 40 markers, including 14 of team’s last 20 points, plus 16 rebounds but the Express still fell short.

“We simply cannot find a solution against Dunigan. Dawson was in foul trouble in the fourth,” noted Gregorio then added: :Its gonna be a long battle, a long conference for us. All our games will be like this but as long as we end up winners, I don't mind it.”

First Game

MERALCO (89) – Dawson 35, Salvacion 18, Cardona 11, Hugnatan 8, Ross 6, Hodge 4, Buenafe 3, Manuel 2, Reyes 2, Artadi 0.

AIR 21 (88) – Dunigan 40, Isip 13, Canaleta 7, Custodio 6, Omolon 6, Ritualo 5, Cortez 4, Arboleda 3, Sena 2, Menor 2, Atkins 0, Wilson 0, Baclao 0.
Quarterscores: 26-19, 49-35, 74-64, 89-88
Second Game
SAN MIG COFFEE (75) – Bowles 16, Yap 11, Barroca 10, Devance 10, Simon 10, Najorda 6, Pingris 6, De Ocampo 5, Reavis 1, Mallari 0, Gaco 0, Gonzales 0.

ALASKA (68) – Dozier 16, Thoss 13, Jazul 10, Espinas 8, Baguio 7, Abueva 6, Hontiveros 5, Casio 3, Ramos 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarterscores: 12-18, 40-28, 62-39, 75-68


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • 13 of 15 SAF survivors to leave PNP hospital
    13 of 15 SAF survivors to leave PNP hospital

    Thirteen of the 15 Special Action Force (SAF) policemen who survived the bloody firefight with Muslim rebels in Mamasapano last month are ready to go home after a month of medical treatment, a police official said yesterday. Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said the two remaining survivors will have to stay in hospital for further treatment, one of whom has shrapnel embedded near his spine. One of the two SAF commando survivors is still …

  • US sends spy plane to patrol disputed sea
    US sends spy plane to patrol disputed sea

    The United States has deployed its newest and most advanced surveillance aircraft for patrols over the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea. The P-8A Poseidon aircraft completed more than 180 flight hours from Feb. 1 to 21 from Clark Air Base, according to the US Navy’s 7th Fleet. …

  • Review: SKK Mobile V2, a P3,999 watered-down LG G2
    Review: SKK Mobile V2, a P3,999 watered-down LG G2

    How well does this P3,999 offering from an underdog in the local mobile industry stack up against the competition? Let's find out. …

  • No coercion, force in sea row – France
    No coercion, force in sea row – France

    France renewed its call for a peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea dispute during a meeting between its leader President Francois Hollande and President Aquino at Malacañang. “We reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia and promoting maritime security, freedom of navigation and the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” Aquino said in a statement …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options