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Penny’s 36 points, 15 rebounds lead Coke

Sunday, 12 April 2009

THE Coca-Cola Tigers came out with sharper fangs to finally snap out of two funks Sunday in the Motolite-PBA Fiesta Conference.

James Penny, who replaced JJ Sullinger last March 26, wound up with a game-high 36 points and a team-best 15 rebounds, but it was his Tigers' new-found willingness to hustle and trap that pleased winning coach Kenneth Duremdes no end.

“Walang Holy Week break, maliban na lang (Good) Friday,” related Duremdes on how they spent the league's observance of the Lenten week.

“Halos buong break we spent on conditioning and our trapping defense. We didn't want Alaska to execute their main weapon, which is their halfcourt offense.”

That game-plan came to the fore first when Coke battled back from as much as two 13-point deficits and most importantly in the final four minutes of the game in which the Tigers held Alaska to a measly 2-for-5 field goal shooting on top of two turnovers to protect their 88-81 lead.

The biggest miscue for the Aces came when Willie Miller got whistled for an offensive foul on Asi Taulava with the Tigers barely ahead 88-85, only 10.9 ticks to go.

Fouled by Brandon Cablay, Alex Cabagnot made one of two charities for the four-point difference that stood after Miller missed a three-point try before the final buzzer.

The win snapped Coke's four-game slide in the tournament and ended a string of eight losses to the Uytengsu franchise since last season. The two are now tied at 2-5 with idle Barangay Ginebra and Barako Bull.

Duremdes, who won his 1998 MVP award while playing under Tim Cone in an Alaska uniform, said the win could fuel his team's continued rise from the cellar.

“Hopefully, this will be the start of something big for the team,” Duremdes stated. “To win over a very good team like Alaska, my (former) mentor, it's a big win for us, the management and the coaching staff.”

Taulava was the lone other double figure scorer for Coke with 11 and eight boards.

For naught went Rossell Ellis' 68th PBA double-double of 28 points and 12 rebounds.

Sonny Thoss and Miller wound up with 12 points each. Reynel Hugnatan only had six points but tallied 11 rebounds while Jeffrey Cariaso, a returnee like Cablay, also had six points.

Penny was at his best during the fourth period, stringing up all nine of his quarter points in boosting Coke from a 76-78 deficit and into an 85-81 lead.

The difference even got stretched to 88-81 on Taulava's three-point play off Thoss, 1:46 to go.
Miller's short stab and Ellis' hook brought Alaska to within three, still 36.8 ticks left, and the Aces' hopes were further fanned when Penny lost the ball in the ensuing play.

Then the southpaw Miller converted a right-handed drive, only to have the shot waved off when referee Noli Quilingen deemed he used his left elbow to push off the blocking Taulava.

The final tight outcome was hardly anticipated after Alaska rallied around Ellis and outscored Coke, 32-15 in the second quarter to take a 49-36 lead at the half.

Then Penny took the lead for Coke, scattering 12 points to bring his team within 69-70 after three quarters.

Mark Macapagal's triple put the Tigers ahead, 73-72, the first time they held the upperhand since 15-11 way back in the first period, before baskets by Cariaso, Larry Fonacier and Ellis gave the Aces a 78-76 edge, 7:22 remaining. (NCo)
The scores:

Coke 89 - Penny 36, Taulava 11, Macapagal 9, Belasco 8, Cabagnot 7, Buenafe 5, Rizada 5, Dimaunahan 4, Misolas 2, Telan 2, Santos 0.

Alaska 85 - Ellis 28, Thoss 12, Miller 12, Cablay 8, Tenorio 7, Hugnatan 6, Cariaso 6, De Vance 2, Fonacier 2, Ferriols 2.

Quarterscores: 21-17, 36-49, 69-70, 89-85.

Source: http://www.pba.ph/content/view/2575/1/
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