Unluckily for the Meralco Bolts, Alaska Aces import Robert Dozier overcame his first game jitters and showed them exactly what he is capable of. He started the game with determination – throwing down a dunk, going for offensive rebounds, and shooting a three-pointer (all in the first few minutes). He led the Aces to a win, ending the game with an impressive 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Combined with steady yet aggressive performances from both Calvin Abueva and Cyrus Baguio, the Aces enjoyed a comfortable lead through most of the game. At the half, the Aces led the Bolts at 47-39.
Things started to get exciting in the last few minutes of the 4th, when the Bolts were able to somewhat close the gap with RonJay Buenafe’s three-point shooting. With only 12 seconds left, Buenafe was able to shoot a triple that put them only two points away from the Aces at 83-81. Under pressure, Tony dela Cruz sunk two crucial free throws to seal the victory at 85-81.
Going back to our pre-game key points:
1. Stopping Eric Dawson – Sonny Thoss, while unable to score as much as he did in the last game, did a great job in containing Dawson. Dawson was only able to score 15 points and shot 5 out of 16 in the field and committed 4 turnovers, a far cry from his debut performance. Compare this to his previous production against TNT and it was clear who won this key to the game.
2. Continued production from Sonny Thoss – As mentioned in the first point, Sonny Thoss was only able to score 6 points versus his 17 against Rain or Shine. However, he was still able to play a productive game in terms of defense. Calvin Abueva and Cryus Baguio did their thing, playing hard and consistently scoring – coming up with 20 points and 16 points respectively.
3. Intensity – From the very start, it was clear that the Aces were playing with a lot more energy than the Bolts. Their level of intensity today definitely led them to get the win.
Momentum seems to be on Aces’ side. Will Alaska be able to keep up their winning spree against Barako Bull? Let’s all watch out for another exciting game on Sunday, February 17. Game will start at 4:15 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.