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SMB Legends scramble past Alaska in Return of the Rivals

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San Miguel Beer Legends from yesteryears turned back the hands of time to shine the spotlight on a storied rivalry with Alaska Milk for the benefit of less fortunate former Philippine Basketball Association players.

SMB Legends scramble past  Alaska in Return of the Rivals
Former two-time Most Valuable Player with the San Miguel Beermen Danny Ildefonso, with ball, tries to pivot past three Alaska Legends defenders, from right: Bong Hawkins, Poch Juinio and Johnny Abarrientos. PBA Media

SMB hero Allan Caidic displayed vintage form to power the Beermen to a 96-83 victory in the exhibition game billed as Return of the Rivals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Sunday, February 27, 2019.  

Caidic drilled back-to-back three pointers to cap a 13-0 San Miguel Beer explosion which broke a 78-all deadlock and push the Beermen to an insurmountable 91-78 advantage with just two minutes left to play. 

Before that explosion, Alaska’s Willie Miller in turn showed his former MVP form as he converted four consecutive field goals, which included a pair of three-pointers, to tie the count at 78-all with 6:05 to go in the game.

But Caidic then waxed hot to seal the game for the Beermen. 

Alaska started strong but the Beermen – fueled by newly-retired Dondon Hontiveros and Denok Miranda, whose contemporary includes Arwind Santos who is still playing in the league – finished stronger. 

Tony Dela Cruz converted three consecutive field goals on three attempts to turn a 15-18 Alaska deficit into a three-point, 21-18, advantage for Alaska late in the first period. 

SMB’s Bong Alvarez then converted a layup with seconds to play to cut the Alaska lead to a point, 21-20, after the first period.

Johnny “The Flying A” Abarrientos opened the second period with a three-pointer. This was followed by jumpshots by Eddie Laure and Rhoel Gomez as the Alaska posted a four-point, 28-24, advantage early in the second period.

Abarrientos added another basket, followed by back-to-back baskets by Poch Juinio and Alaska roared off to a 10-point, 34-24, lead with 4:59 to go in the second period. 

Alaska ended the first half on a high note. John Ferriols drilled a jumper from the left baseline. Kenneth “Captain Marbel” Duremdes then dribbled into the lane and scored from underneath the goal to push Alaska to an eight-point, 40-32 lead at halftime.

Joel Banal and Aric Del Rosario called the shots for the Alaska Legends. 

Pilo Pumaren and Jong Uichico called the shots for the SMB Legends.

Bong Hawkins and Jojo Lastimosa got into the scoring parade early in the third period. Both scored on difficult layups to push Alaska to a five-point, 49-45, lead with 7:20 to go in the third. 

Rodney Santos then took up the scoring load for Alaska. He converted three consecutive baskets late in the third period but the Aces still lost the lead courtesy of baskets by Ildefonso and Hontiveros. San Miguel led by three points, 62-59, after three quarters.

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