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Aces move up to joint 8th

Alaska Milk is back in the hunt for a spot in the knockout pairings in the Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference wildcard round.

The Aces fought back from an 18-point deficit in the last nine minutes of play and topped the Talk n Text Tropang Texters, 122-115, in overtime to catch up with the Coca-Cola Tigers at eighth place after the penultimate play date of the classification round at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.

Back on equal footing, the Aces and the Tigers resume their battle for eighth spot facing separate opponents Friday in the same venue.

It's Alaska versus Barangay Ginebra and Coca-Cola against San Miguel Beer. Victories by both the Aces and the Tigers force a playoff between the two teams.

"I wouldn't call it miraculous but lady luck smiled upon us in this game," said Alaska coach Tim Cone after his chargers snatched the game, foiling Talk n Text's bid for at least a shot at the No. 4 spot.

The Texters settled for a spot in the knockout pairings in the wildcard phase after ending up with an even 7-7 win-loss record in the classification round.

"We've been looking to get things going for us. This is a crucial win and, hopefully, this serves as a springboard for us. We're looking to build momentum which we could use in the playoffs," said Cone.

Willie Miller, Joe Devance and John Ferriols delivered coming off the bench at crunch time, leading the Aces to the come-from-behind victory.

Miller beat the buzzer with a lay-up against Jason Castro to force overtime at 105-all.

The two-time MVP winner then added four more points in the extension period before Devance and Ferriols took over to complete the Alaska win.

Rosell Ellis scored a game-high 38 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, fueling Alaska's comeback from 18 points down at 73-91 with nine minutes left to play.

He hobbled to the bench with leg cramps with 1:39 left to play but there was no stopping the Aces with the momentum having shifted to their side.

Ferriols shattered a 115-all deadlock as he came through with a crucial three-point play off a foul by Ranidel de Ocampo after pulling down a big offensive rebound off a missed three-pointer by Miller.

After Jared Dillinger missed his own three-point attempt, Miller grabbed the rebound then Ferriols gained a trip to the line, sealing the win with a charity with time down to 23 seconds.

Outscoring the Aces, 15-0, on fastbreak in the second quarter, the Texters took the half at 53-44 after trailing by two, 21-23, in the opening period.

Rashad Bell and Harvey Carey scored eight points apiece to lead TnT's searing second-quarter assault.

The Texters fired almost at will in the second period, hitting 61.9 percent from the field as against the Aces' 26.1-percent shooting.

Alaska took a two-point edge in the initial quarter while converting 47.6 percent of its shots, slightly better than TnT's 45-percent clip. (NC)

The scores:

Alaska 122 - Ellis 38, Miller 18, Tenorio 16, Cablay 13, De Vance 12, Ferriols 8, Dela Cruz 6, Cariaso 5, Thoss 4, Borboran 2, Fonacier 0.

Talk N' Text 115 - Bell 30, Dillinger 16, De Ocampo R. 14, Ritualo 14, Castro 13, Carey 13, Cardona 11, Peek 2, De Ocampo Y. 2, Escobal 0, Aljamal 0, Alapag 0.

Quarterscores: 23-21, 44-53, 67-83, 105-105, 122-115

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