Robert Dozier scattered a game-high 27 points and had 14 rebounds and six blocks to help Alaska escape with an 85-81 grinder over Meralco for its second straight victory in the 2013 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Colisuem.
Calvin Abueva, despite being bothered by a sore back, once again made his presence felt with 20 points and eight boards to lead the Aces to a league-leading 2-0 slate.
“Our guys gave Robert (Dozier) a look. He’s coming on his own. He’s versatile and his demeanor is amazing,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo of his reinforcement.
Alaska was only carrying a 77-74 edge heading into the final five minutes, but a swift 5-1 run finished off by Cyrus Baguio’s split from the line gave the Aces an 82-75 advantage with 2:38 remaining.
After an unproductive spell from both teams, Ronjay Buenafe knocked down a triple from the left elbow to keep Meralco alive, 78-82, with 1:33 left.
Following another split from Baguio with 20.8 ticks left, Buenafe once again nailed a trey from the same spot with just 12.3 seconds left to make it just a two-point game for the Aces, 83-81.
But Tony Dela Cruz’s two clutch free throws with 11.2 ticks left sealed the game for the Aces.
“They (Bolts) made a run, but we remained strong and we got good shots in the final minutes,” added Trillo.
The Aces went ahead by 13 points, 54-41, early in the third frame, but a 21-9 blitz by the Bolts to end the period allowed them to trail by just a single point, 62-63, into the fourth.
Baguio added 16 markers and four boards.
Meralco slipped to 1-1 in the standings.
Vic Manuel continued his marvelous play for his new team, scoring a team-high 18 points, plus eight boards as he carried the fight for Meralco.
After an impressive first game, Meralco import Eric Dawson was held to just 15 points and 13 rebounds this time.
“We had to focus on Dawson. Credit goes to Sonny (Thoss) for his great defensive effort on him,” said Trillo.
—Dozier 27, Abueva 20, Baguio 16, Casio 8, Espinas 6, Thoss 6, Dela Cruz 2, Ramos 0, Jazul 0, Eman 0, Hontiveros 0, Belasco 0.
—Manuel 18, Dawson 15, Buenafe 14, Cardona 11, Ross 6, Hugnatan 5, Hodge 4, Artadi 4, Guevarra 2, Borboran 2, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0.
26-21, 47-39, 63-62, 85-81