MANILA, Philippines – Air21 rode on Mac Cardona's heroics in the fourth quarter to thwart Alaska, 91-88, in the PBA Governors' Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday.
The Express, which improved to 3-1, reeled from the Aces’ 11-2 run in the final quarter, 82-86, until Cardona came to their rescue.
After Aldrech Ramos’ free throws that cut the deficit to 2, Cardona gunned a triple and came up with a shot that gave Air21 the lead, 89-86, with 53 seconds remaining.
Cardona then followed up with a brilliant pass to an open-wide Ramos, who fired the go-ahead jumper that knocked the wind out of Alaska.
The former La Salle standout scored all of his 14 points in the second half, 9 of them coming in the final quarter.
“Macmac really stepped up. He made some ridiculous shots, big shots that gave us a cushion,” said Air21 head coach Franz Pumaren in the league’s official website.
Import Dominique Sutton contributed another double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Asi Taulava scattered 15 points to go with his 15 rebounds.
“I’m still in awe with Asi,” Pumaren said of his ageless center. “It has been a long season for us, and he can still keep pace with the younger ones. He can still give them a competitive game. Those stats are really amazing. Who would believe that a 41-year-old can play 41 minutes?
“He wants us to really go far this conference. He wants us to prove something, whether it may be individual or team glory,” he added.
It was a welcome victory for the Express after bowing the Barangay Ginebra, 84-76, last Tuesday.
Import Henry Walker had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Alaska, which also got 12 each from Gabby Espinas and Cyrus Baguio.
These, however, did not stop the Aces from sustaining their second-straight loss in four games.
Air21 91 – Sutton 22, Taulava 15, Cardona 14, Borboran 11, Yeo 10, Ramos 6, Atkins 6, J. Villanueva 3, Poligrates 2, Camson 2, E. Villanueva 0, Jaime 0, Burtscher 0.
Alaska 88 – Casio 18, Walker 13, Espinas 12, Baguio 12, Jazul 8, Abueva 7, Thoss 6, Belasco 5, Hontiveros 5, Manuel 2, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarterscores: 19-29, 35-38, 67-64, 91-88.