Rey Joble, InterAKTV · Thursday, December 13, 2012 · 12:15 am
New faces have joined Alaska to change the fortunes of the Aces, but it was an old reliable who carried the cudgels come playoff time.
Cyrus Baguio scored 26 points to lead Alaska to a 90-84 triumph over the Meralco Bolts to start their best-of-three Philippine Cup quarterfinals series Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
"There are six, seven new guys who have come in to this team, but Cyrus has been steady for us," said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo. "He made good plays out there tonight."
Baguio hit four three-pointers, including one at the four-minute mark of the third quarter that kicked off a 7-0 run that gave the Aces their biggest lead of the game, 69-47.
Alaska was still up by 16 points, 74-58, heading into the fourth quarter. The Aces kept the Bolts at bay for most of the period, before Sol Mercado and Jay-R Reyes teamed up to cut the lead to just six points late in the game.
But Meralco could not come any closer, allowing the Aces to come away with the victory.
"Let's give credit to Meralco. Their energy was there. There are guys who are thoroughbreds out there, including Chris Ross and Mercado," said Trillo.
Veteran Tony dela Cruz also gave Alaska a boost, posting 13 points and seven rebounds to make up for a subpar game from star rookie Calvin Abueva, who scored just six points before fouling out of the game in the fourth quarter.
Mercado, playing with an ankle injury, led the Bolts with 22 points.
Alaska can close out the series with a win in Game Two set on Friday, also at the Big Dome.
ALASKA 90 -- Baguio 26, Espinas 19, Dela Cruz 13, Thoss 10, Baracael 9, Abueva 6, Casio 5, Jazul 1, Hontiveros 1, Eman 0, Belasco 0.
MERALCO 84 -- Mercado 22,Cardona 14, Reyes 13, Ross 9, Hodge 8, Buenafe 7, Hugnatan 5, Nabong 2, Bulawan 2, Sharma 2, Borboran 0, Salvacion 0.
Quarters: 18-20, 44-33, 74-58, 90-84
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