MANILA, APRIL 3, 2006 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Sunday Salvacion, playing on borrowed time in the closing seconds following the ouster of Rodney Santos on injury, seized the moment and buried a three-pointer to lift Barangay Ginebra past Alaska Milk, 91-88, in overtime in the Gran Matador Brandy PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Araneta Coliseum.

Salvacion, who was just supposed to stand as decoy, hit the booming trey from atop the key, shattering the 88-all deadlock and sparking a frenzied celebration in the Ginebra bench and their supporters with only eight tenths of a second left in the clock.

Alaska immediately sued for time but failed to take a decent attempt to send the game to a third overtime, enabling Ginebra to get away with its fourth win in seven starts. The Aces slid to 3-4.

"As they say, sometimes itís better to be lucky than to be good," said Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen as they snapped a five-game losing skein versus the Aces in head-to-head matches in an All-Filipino conference.

"Alaska actually broke our play intended for Mark Caguioa or Eric Menk. Salvacion came in cold but he made the big shot," Tanquingcen added.

Curiously, Salvacion drew extra playing time in the game as Santos sustained a knee injury in the third quarter then Rommel Adducul fouled out only 21 seconds into the overtime.

The former St. Benilde top gun had gone 1-of-3 from the two point zone when he took the crucial throw-in from Jayjay Helterbrand with three seconds left in the clock. The 6-foot-1 wingman didnít hesitate to take the game-winner triggering a thunderous uproar from the huge Sunday crowd in the venue.

Alaska took possession with only 25.2 seconds left to play in the contest but Tony dela Cruz fumbled a pass by Jeffrey Cariaso in the left wing.

In the ensuing play, Menk missed a short jumper but drew a foul from Willy Wilson in a rebound play as Ginebra kept possession with three seconds left in the clock.

Calling a timeout, Tanquingcen plotted a low post play for Menk and Caguioa which was anticipated by the Aces, forcing Helterbrand to go to Salvacion for the inbounds.

Caguioa, Menk and Helterbrand turned in huge numbers, combining for 68 points, 29 rebounds and seven assists. Santos finished with only six points, two assists and one rebound before limping to their bench.

Six Alaska players scored in double figures led by Cariaso with 20 points and Don Allado with 18.

Dela Cruz rifled in 13 points but, aside from committing a crucial error in the closing seconds in overtime, muffed a potential game-winning attempt in regulation play.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved