Manila, Philippines – Damion James scored 29 points, including a clutch basket, to help Alaska in beating Ginebra, 104-98, in the final game of the elimination round season game on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
With the win, Alaska entered into the playoff seeding at No. 6, avoiding the a twice-to-beat disadvantage over the top two seeds. James delivered the crucial basket wth 4.8 seconds left. Alaska import grabbed also 14 rebounds to lead the Aces.
Though Alaska has identical record with Barako Bull and Ginebra but the Aces got a better quotient to move to No. 6 seed.
Cyrus Baguio added 17 points to compliment the scoring of James. Calvin Abueva posted 16 points for the Aces. Baguio and Abueva were very reliable in making those needed shots especially when Ginebra started rallying and cutting the 15 point lead possessed by Alaska.
The never-say-die spirit of Ginebra was present when the Kings took the lead, 90-89, with 5:04 left. LA Tenorio sparked the run while Japeth Aquilar delivered a shot that cut the lead into four, 89-85. Ginebra needed the three point play of Michael Dunigan to cut the lead into one, 89-88. Josh Urbiztondo played a major role for the Kings rally in the fourth.
Ginebra captured the lead through the two free throws of Ma Baracael, with the crowd mostly cheering for Ginebra.
Alaska found itself thinking about an early summer vacation but the Aces fought back, closing the game in a 15-8 spurt.
Dunigan ended up with 32 points and 13 rebounds. Aguilar had 17 points but did not finish the game because of injury. Baracael added 18 points for the Kings. Tenorio scored 10 points in a losing effort.
Alaska will play Purefoods in a Best-of-Three series in the first round of the PBA playoffs.