Saturday, 9 April 2011

Tenorio saves Alaska anew, Aces escape past Air21 Express

Posted by chardyboy on Saturday, April 09, 2011 0 comments


On the brink of defeat, Alaska leaned on L.A. Tenorio once again to save the day.

The wily point guard rallied the Aces back from eight points down in the final four minutes, before Sonny Thoss’ one-handed tip-in off a Tenorio miss allowed the Aces to escape with a thrilling 91-89 win over the Air21 Express in the opener of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals series Friday night at the Astrodome.

Tenorio nailed three baskets from downtown in the final 2:35 of the highly-emotional and physical game, sparking a 15-5 closing run by Alaska for a 1-0 lead in the short best-of-three series.

The Aces can wrap it all up on Sunday when Game 2 is played at the same venue in Pasay City, for a chance to face top-seeded Talk `N Text in the best-of-five semifinals.

Tenorio finished with 19 points, including nine from three-point range, the last of which tied the game at 89 in the final 36.3 seconds.

Incidentally, the Alaska playmaker came to life shortly after being elbowed in the eye by Dorian Pena as he tried to get past the screen of the Air21 big man, with the Express protecting an 84-76 lead with 2:52 left.

"In a short series, it’s really important to win Game 1," said Tenorio, who also had three assists.

Joe Devance and import LD Williams finished with 18 and 17 points, respectively, while Thoss had 11, including the winning basket with four-tenths of a second left.

The Express still had one chance to win the game, but Alpha Bangura’s fadeway jumper at the buzzer bounced hard off the rim, signaling a wild celebration at mid-court among Alaska players.

Bangura led Air21 with 20 points, Hontiveros had 18, and Seigle 17.

The Express, the last team to make the playoffs after beating the Aces in their final outing in the eliminations, 92-83, appeared on the verge of another upset after a three-pointer from the left corner by Wynne Arboleda pushed them in front, 84-76.

But banking behind their vast experience, the Aces slowly clawed their way back, as Tenorio hit the first three of his nine points from long range. - KY, RCJ, GMA News


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