|AKTV file photo/Paul Ryan Tan|
The sophomore guard played one of the finest games of his young career, scoring 12 points in the final three minutes including the go-ahead layup that propelled the Aces to a hard-earned 94-92 triumph over erstwhile unbeaten Talk ‘N Text in their Philippine Cup match Friday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Casio’s heroics came at a perfect time. In a minute-long stretch late in the game, he scored 10 straight points — three three-pointers, including one four-point play — to bring the Aces back against the Tropang Texters.
Alaska trailed by as much as 12 points, 83-71, in the fourth quarter, before Casio, Cyrus Baguio, and Calvin Abueva scored the final 23 points for the Aces.
Casio’s last basket, a driving scoop shot to elude the long arms of Kelly Williams put the Aces ahead, 94-92 with two seconds left in the game.
“I have to give it to JVee. The game was out of hand, but he simply refused to lose,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo, whose team notched its fifth straight victory to improve its win-loss record to 5-2.
“He made us look good. Games like this one builds character.”
The Aces still needed to make a stop in Talk ‘N Text’s final play. Jimmy Alapag, normally the team’s go-to-guy at the clutch, was assigned to do the inbound from the sidelines. Larry Fonacier came off a screen and got the pass. He was perfectly squared for a short jumper but his shot went in and out as time expired. The Tropang Texters’ perfect record was finally blemished by the resilient Aces for the first time in seven games this conference.
It was the first win by Alaska over Talk ‘N Text since the 2010 Fiesta Conference.
ALASKA 94 – Casio 25, Baguio 16, Abueva 14, Thoss 13, Jazul 8, Baracael 6, Hontiveros 6, Espinas 4, Reyes 2, Dela Cruz 0, Belasco 0.
TALK ‘N TEXT 92 – Alapag 17, De Ocampo 15, Reyes 13, Williams 13, Peek 11, Castro 10, Fonacier 5, Gamalinda 3, Aban 3, Carey 2.
Quarters: 29-20, 52-45, 68-73, 94-92