ALASKA needed an extra session to fend off Star, 97-90, on Wednesday night to start the New Year on a winning note in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces squandered a double-digit lead in regulation, before regaining their bearings in overtime to pull off the hard-earned victory.
Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel reenergized the Aces after they lost the lead, coming up with the biggest plays down the stretch as they broke a tie with the Hotshots, improving to a 4-3 win-loss record.
The Hotshots, on the other hand, dropped below. 500 at 3-4 after their comeback fell short.
“Calvin and Vic were obviously, sila talaga 'yung bida. They carried us,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “Their energy was tremendous.”
Abueva registered 23 points and missed a double-double by just one rebound, kicking things off with a coast-to-coast layup in the extra session that already put the Aces up for good.
After scoring on another fastbreak basket – a stab off a nice catch from a crosscourt feed from JVee Casio that gave them a 93-89 lead, Abueva delivered on the defensive end with a steal off an Allein Maliksi inbound pass intended for Marc Pingris that appeared to seal the deal.
Manuel fired a game-high 25 points, including 10 in the third where they established their biggest lead of 11 points, on top of eight boards in 31 minutes.
Maliksi knocked down the triple that knotted the count at 86 and dragged the game into overtime, but also missed three ensuing attempts that could’ve already won the game for the Hotshots in regulation.
That dampened what had been a solid night for Maliksi, who finished with a team-high 15 points and nine boards.
ALASKA 97 –Manuel 25, Abueva 23, Jazul 13, Casio 10, Exciminiano 7, Banchero 6, Dela Cruz 6, Racal 3, Pascual 3, Mendoza 1, Thoss 0, Magat 0, Cruz 0, Galliguez 0, Hontiveros 0
STAR 90 – Maliksi 15, Reavis 13, Simon 12, Lee 10, Barroca 10, Brondial 7, Pingris 6, Ramos 6, Sangalang 4, Jalalon 4, Melton 3, Abundo 0, Dela Rosa 0
Quarterscores: 18-16, 40-46, 72-65, 86-86, 97-90