VIC Manuel continued his amazing form in the PBA Commissioner's Cup as he led Alaska to a pulsating 103-99 victory over the Magnolia on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Manuel was close to unstoppable in the final quarter, scoring 17 of his 35 points in that stretch to lead an Aces left without suspended forward Calvin Abueva to a sixth straight win after a loss in its opener.
It marked the fourth time in seven games that the vastly improved Manuel has either equalled, or surpassed, his career-high, according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Manuel was scoring on just about everyone from Rafi Reavis to import Justin Jackson. His tough and-one over Reavis in the 2:35 mark of the quarter highlighted the Aces late run.
He and JV Casio scored 17 of Alaska's final 18 points as the team sealed its place in the playoffs.
"It's impoossible to talk to you guys without talking about Vic Manuel. I don't know what to say, he went off. Rafi is one of the premier one-on-one defenders and I have a lot of respect for Rafi when it comes to defense," said Alaska coach Alex Compton.
"For Vic to score against a smart, long defender like Rafi is very impressive," he added. "It was pretty phenomenal."
Antonio Campbell added 28 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks for the Aces while Casio went off at crunch time, scoring all his eight points in the final 3:17 of the game.
The Hotshots seem to have found a better import in Justin Jackson as he finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds and six assists but free-throw woes for their imports continued as the latter made just 3-of-13 from the line.
Curtis Kelly, the import that he replaced, shot 3-12 on his debut.
Paul Lee came off the bench to score 21 points while Justin Melton added 14 but it wasn’t enough to save Magnolia from its third straight defeat. The Hotshots fell to 3-4.
As a team, the Hotshots made just 14 of 27 shots from the line.
Alaska 103 - Manuel 35, Campbell 28, Thoss 9, Casio 8, Banchero 7, Enciso 6, Racal 5, Baclao 4, Exciminiano 1, Pascual 0
Magnolia 99 - Jackson 21, Lee 21, Melton 14, Reavis 9, Simon 9, Barroca 9, dela Rosa 9, Jalalon 4, Herndon 2, Brondial 1, Ramos 0, Pascual 0
Quarterscores: 23-16, 46-39, 71-70, 103-99