Alaska avoids sweep, blasts ROS in heated battle

On the day Calvin “The Beast” Abueva claimed his first-ever Best Player of the Conference nod, the Alaska Aces also clinched their first win of the series against Rain or Shine Elasto Painters to live another day, 111-99, in Game 4 of the PBA-Oppo Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

Abueva proved he’s worthy of the award by providing the spunk and the energy to fuel the Aces’ drive to stay alive.

Abueva finished with 14 points before being tossed out with 2 technical fouls late in the game for near altercation with Rain or Shine players while Chris Banchero came up with his best game in the series with 17 and 8 assists.

Rob Dozier, who lost in the Best Import derby, continued his solid form with 23 markers for the undermanned Aces, who were still without  JVee Casio, Vic Manuel and Eric Menk due to injuries.

With the game already under wraps, emotions ran high to set up an all-out war in Game 5 on Sunday at 5 p.m. in the Big Dome.

The Aces led by as much as 23 points, 90-67, entering the final canto but little skirmishes late in the game involving Abueva and Beau Belga, and even Banchero and Jericho Cruz, somehow woke up the E-Painters who came to within eight, 99-107, but ran out of time.

Rookie Maverick Ahanmisi erupted for 30 points but was the lone bright spot for Rain or Shine which got denied of a sweep that could have handed them just their second franchise title in the PBA. — By John Bryan Ulanday