PBA FIESTA CUP: DEPLETED ALASKA HAS MORE ACES THAN SLR
MANILA, February 29, 2004 (STAR) By Joey Villar - Alaska Milk played a lot headier and steadier than Sta. Lucia Realty in a duel between two teams minus their injured top wingmen, scoring an 88-80 victory in Gran Matador PBA Fiesta Conference’s first stop at the Philsports Arena last night.
NBA veteran and returning PBA import Art Long unleashed a monster game as San Miguel Beer smashed FedEx, 105-76, in the nightcap
Alaska proved to have more aces up its sleeves than Sta. Lucia with John Arigo and Kenneth Duremdes sidelined by different injuries, calling on import Galen Young and Fil-Am mainstays Mike Cortez, Brandon Cablay and Ali Peek as they made an auspicious start in this PBA transition tourney.
Young, who was highly recommended by long-time Alaska resident import Sean Chambers, lived up to his reputation as a deadly scorer from inside and out, firing 27 points to pace the Aces who also drew double-digit outputs from Cortez (18), Cablay (15) and Peek (12).
Wilson led all scorers with 29 but the bulk came when Alaska had already loosened up.
Obviously, the Realtors missed Duremdes so much more than the Aces missed Arigo.
Duremdes, the 1998 league MVP, rode the bench with a bruised right calf muscle which he needs to rest for probably a few more days before he’s allowed to return to action. Arigo is out for a month with a recurring knee injury.
Young, picked 48th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1999 NBA Draft, also came up with 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals in a performance that drew praises from coach Tim Cone.
"He’s really a great all-around player. We’re just trying to use his skills at this point," said Cone.
Surely, Young did not do it alone.
Cortez dazzled the crowd with his killer crossover moves to finish with 18 points on top of six assists and four rebounds while Don Allado scored only eight points but hauled down 11 rebounds.
Joachim Thoss, picked fifth overall in this year’s rookie draft, put in his share as he was utilized by Cone in 16 minutes. He tallied four points, one rebound and one assist.
He got a baptism of fire in the league when Marlou Aquino planted an elbow on his face in the third quarter.
"Sonny (Thoss) played well. He’s a 6-8 kid who can drive from the baseline. He battled Marlou really tough. He got Marlou’s elbow on his face and he didn’t react," said Cone.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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