RED BULL, ALASKA FORCE SECOND STAND-OFF AT 2-2
MANILA, FEBRUARY 4, 2008 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Red Bull dragged Purefoods into overtime last night and scored a 97-88 victory that levelled their best-of-seven semis showdown in the Smart PBA Philippine Cup at two apiece at the Astrodome.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The longer this series goes the better it is for us,” said Red Bull coach Yeng Guiao, who’s even hoping that the ping-pong series would go the distance.
“We’d be happy if we can take it to seven games. But we really want to break the cycle. The teams are just alternating on winning. Maybe it’s about time to break the cycle,” added Guiao.
Later in the night, the other semis matchup between Alaska and Sta. Lucia also wound up tied at 2-2 after the Aces led by as many as 26 points on their way to a 93-80 victory.
The series resumes Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Purefoods took the first game, yielded the second and won the third. A victory last night could have given the Giants a 3-1 lead. Only two teams in PBA history have ever erased such deficit to win a series.
The game, witnessed by a big Sunday crowd, was tight all throughout. There were 19 deadlocks and 19 lead changes, and neither team seemed to have any advantage until the final five minutes.
Celino Cruz opened the extra period with a triple, and Red Bull went on to score 10 unanswered points. Jun Simon scored Purefoods’ lone basket in overtime but it came with barely 20 seconds left.
Cyrus Baguio scored on a leaning lay-up in the final 1.3 seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime where he added six of his 20 points. Kiko Adriano also played a big game with his 16 points.
Purefoods missed its first 11 attempts in overtime, and by the time Simon broke the spell Red Bull had it all wrapped up, silencing the Purefoods gallery, which included team owner Danding Cojuangco.
James Yap, the heart and soul of the Purefoods squad, hurt his left knee in the opening period and was never fielded back after scoring 10 points. He said he banged his knee against someone, somewhere.
“I can’t even recall,” Yap said on his way out of the Astrodome. Although it’s nothing more than a contusion, he said he’d have it checked by Dr. Raul Canlas today at St. Luke’s Medical Center.
“I don’t know what happened to James Yap but we’re lucky he wasn’t able to play in the second half. I’m surprised that after hitting 10 points he did not play anymore,” said Guiao.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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