Philippines, 29 Feb 2024
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The 'Angas ng Tondo'  strikes again

He?s called the ?Angas Ng Tondo? for nothing. Nor the PBA 43rd season Governor?s Cup Best Player of the Conference honoree.

Paul Lee, the bane in the Alaska Aces? futile tile campaign in the 2016 PBA Commissioner?s Cup while playing for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, did it again in the on-gong Governors Cup Finals against the same team, breaking the Aces? hearts in what could, likewise, derail Alaska?s bid for their first championship under coach Alex Compton.

Lee struck on a jumper from the right corner with 1.3 seconds left in gifting the Magnolia Hothots a come from-behind 79-78 victory over Alaska in a Game Five thriller on Friday night.

A win that moved the Hotshots on the threshold of notching their first PBA crown since their Grandslam year in 2014.

It was, once again deja?vu for the Aces, who found themselves at the wrong end of a Paul Lee game-winner in PBA Finals.

Lee?s game-winning basket was eerily similar to Lee's buzzer-beater from almost exactly the same spot of the floor to give former team the Elasto Painters a 105-103 victory over the Aces in Game Two of the Commissioner?s Cup Finals on the way to bringing home all he marbles two years ago.

And coach Alex remembered that vividly as he, albeit jokingly, promised to put something slippery, like oil on the floor the next time they meet on Wednesday in Game 6 of the series at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City where coach Chito Victolero?s Hotshots stand to end their quest for the plum with a 3-2 series lead.

?I will have to put something slippery on the floor for the endgame with Paul. He got that spot against us,? Compton told media men with a wide grin.

?I don?t know guys if you remember Game Two versus Rain or Shine,? Compton said during the traditional postgame press conference inside the Araneta Coliseum media room. ?That?s with Rob Dozier back when they beat us in the finals. Paul hit a buzzer-beater in almost the exact spot.?

Compton admitted he was disappointed with his boys? lackluster showing in the first 24 minutes of the crucial contest, but was nevertheless happy to see the Aces fight back from a 17-point deficit and set the stage for the cardiac finish.

?It?s just me or was that an instant classic?? Compton said. ?That was basketball. I?m just disappointed in our first half. If you ask me, we lost in the first half. We didn?t have what we showed in the second half. But man, what a basketball game!"

Compton was referring to the third period when the Aces went on a 20-2 run to turn the game around after they trailed, 53-40, at lemon time.

?In the third quarter, I thought our guys were phenomenal. I didn?t think that Magnolia would give up. And they didn?t, unfortunately,? he said.

The Aces? mentor though expressed confidence of Alaska?s chances heading into Game Six after the league takes a five-day break to give way to the PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday.

?We?ll certainly try to do it,? Compton vowed, when asked about forcing a do-or-die Game Seven on December 21 at the Philippine Arena. ?I am a basketball fan so I will be watching on Wednesday. I would say all basketball fans should watch.

"These two teams can?t play any harder. That was an incredible game.?

Mike Harris, the Conference?s Best Import, did almost everything for the Alaska Aces in that Game 5, shooting 28 points and hauling down 20 rebounds. Everything except power the Aces to the much-needed win.

Victolero, though, has a different idea. ?Mahirap nang bigyan ng pagkakataong makabangon ang Alaska. Lalamunin na na kami nyan. Kelangan kunin na sa game 6.?

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.

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