PBA:  SAN  MIG  SOURS  UP  NEW  ALASKA  MIX

MANILA,  October 25, 2004  (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - The current San Miguel Beer brew, though still far from its old fearsome form, proved better than Alaska Milkís new mix.

San Miguel snapped a two-game skid as it spoiled Jeffrey Cariasoís comeback and Reynel Hugnatanís transfer to Alaska with a 75-67 win in the Gran Matador PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum last night.

Dondon Hontiveros, Nic Belasco, Joey Mente and Dorian PeŮa took turns in delivering the goods for San Miguel, leading the Beermen to their third win in six outings.

PeŮa and Mente combined in a decisive 7-0 binge that broke Alaskaís back as the Aces fell behind by 11, 61-72, with 3:41 left in the clock.

"We needed that win badly to stay on target. Mahaba pa ang tournament but itís hard to fall back early. Weíd like to keep things consistent and weíre still working hard on it," said San Miguel coach Jong Uichico.

"Iím still not satisfied with the way weíre playing. Buti nakalusot ngayon. If we continue to play this way, itís gonna be a struggle," Uichico added.

The amiable San Miguel mentor said he couldnít figure out why they suddenly lost fluidity in their game.

Strangely, it was Alaska coach Tim Cone who expressed satisfaction on the way his team played.

"Iím very pleased with the way we played. Iím just disappointed with the loss. It could have been a different story if Don (Allado) was here," said Cone.

"We knew itís not good to make a trade at this time but sometime you have to jump on it. I feel good about my new team and Iím confident we can turn things around," Cone added.

The returning Cariaso and new recruit Hugnatan got ample minutes from coach Cone and measured up to the challenge, but the Aces obviously missed the services of ace slotman Allado as they suffered their fourth loss in five starts. Allado was out with a sprained ankle.

Hugnatan scored a career-high 21 points in his first game in Alaskaís white jersey while Cariaso came up with a near double-double outing with 16 points and nine rebounds.

Despite a smaller team, the Aces curiously outrebounded the Beermen, 42-31, but committed more turnovers, 23-13.

"We had a hard time in the beginning because we couldnít make the right adjustments right away. Our preparation was against an Alaska team with Ali Peek and John Arigo. Hindi naming nalaman agad ang trade kaya before the game na lang namin napagusapan si Cariaso at Hugnatan," said Uichico.

The Aces had a one-hour practice with Cariaso and Hugnatan in the morning at the Philsports Arena.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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