It was a perfect November for Petron Blaze.
The Boosters came through with clutch plays down the stretch and defeated stubborn Alaska, 90-85, for their sixth straight win in the 2011 PBA Philippine Cup Tuesday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Petron ended this month unscathed after six games and improved their mark to 9-3, boosting its chances for the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinal round.
Arwind Santos had 24 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals, Alex Cabagnot added 20 markers, six boards and five assists while Dennis Miranda contributed 14 off the bench as they hit the crucial shots in the closing minutes.
The Aces fell to 3-9 and are now in danger of missing the playoffs just for the third time in the last 32 conferences.
“First quarter we did a god job shutting down their transition game but in the second quarter, we relaxed at nawala ‘yung patience sa offense,” said Boosters head coach Ato Agustin.
“I told them we can’t underestimate Alaska and it was not an easy game for us,” he added.
Petron really had to dig deep this time as the Aces, after trailing early at 3-18, came back fighting in the second canto and trimmed the gap to 38-39 going to the break.
It was a tight contest since then with the Aces even taking a 46-43 lead in the third and a 70-68 edge on Sonny Thoss’s three-point play off Rob Reyes.
But Petron answered back with a 15-6 exchange, led by Santos, Cabagnot and Miranda to erect an 83-76 cushion with 3:34 remaining.
Alaska was not about to give up easily as the Aces scored the next nine points to take an 85-85 lead with 1:39 left in the contest.
Miranda tied the game with an undergoal stab, 85-85, and after LA Tenorio missed a triple in the ensuing play, Santos put the lead back to the Boosters with a side jumper, 87-85, 58, ticks left.
Alaska committed a pair of turnovers in its next two possessions, one on Tenorio and the other one on Mac Baracael that led to Danny Ildefonso’s split and Santos’s tip-in to take the game for good.
“Goal talaga namin mag-No. 1 para sa twice-to-beat advantage,” said Agustin. “Whatever happens sa next game, we still have a chance.”
Thoss had 19 points and 19 rebounds for the Aces while Baracael and Tenorio each had 13 markers.
PETRON 90 – Santos 24, Cabagnot 20, Miranda 14, Reyes 8, Yeo 8, Ildefonso 7, Baclao 4, Tugade 3, Guevarra 2, Doruelo 0, Agustin 0, Sharma 0.
ALASKA 85 – Thoss 19, Baracael 13, Tenorio 13, Custodio 10, Reyes 10, Baguio 10, Bugia 6, Salamat 4, Eman 0.
Quarters: 21-9, 39-38, 64-60, 90-85