ALASKA couldn’t have given the rest of the field in the PBA Philippine Cup a bigger scare than on Halloween.
Their fluid game in full display, the Aces demolished Meralco in a battle between two unbeaten teams, 105-64, to grab the solo lead in the season-opening conference on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Vic Manuel scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the opening half, Dondon Hontiveros added 16 while Calvin Abueva and rookie Chris Banchero combined for 21 points in leading the Aces to the 41-point blowout - the biggest winning margin in the league since Rain or Shine routed Alaska, 123-72, in last season’s Governors Cup.
“Absolutely, that’s not on my mind,” coach Alex Compton said in the post-game interview when asked if he was thinking about the Aces’ 51-point rout at the hands of the Elasto Painters.
“Our guys just played fantastic. It’s just one of those games when they (Bolts) have an off-night and our guys are shooting the ball well.”
The wire-to-wire win was the third straight for the Aces and came at the expense of former coach Luigi Trillo, the man who guided the franchise to the Commissioner’s Cup title two years ago and is now deputy coach of Norman Black at Meralco.
Compton said the Aces were not sending any message to their former coach following the impressive win that came just two days after they escaped past Talk `N Text, 100-98.
“Absolutely not (of players sending a message to Trillo). He’s a friend of mine for life,” said Compton of his predecessor.
Alaska shot a sizzling 58 percent from the floor (41-of-71), while holding Meralco to just 32 percent shooting (23-of-71).
The Aces also had more assists, 30-12, but the most glaring numbers on the stat sheets came on points off bench, where they outscored the Bolts by a whooping 78-31 edge.
“Stuff like that can happen. We just wanna honor the game and our opponents,” said Compton as he tried to downplay the big win pulled off by his team.
Only Cliff Hodge and Sean Anthony finished in double figures for Meralco with 16 and 11 points, respectively, as the Bolts lost for the first time after they both won their first two games in overtime.
Still, Compton has nothing but good words for the Bolts, whom he believe will bounce back strong especially with a champion coach like Black at the helm.
“With the character that they (Bolts) have, they will bounce back strong,” he said. “I really don’t want to play them next.”
Alaska (105) – Manuel 17, Hontiveros 16, Banchero 11, Abueva 10, Baguio 8, Jazul 8, Exciminiano 7, Eman 6, De La Rosa 6, Thoss 5, Bugia 4, Vanlandingham 3, Dela Cruz 32, Casio 2.
Meralco (64) – Hodge 16, Anthony 11, Dillinger 9, Hugnatan 6, Buenafe 5, Ildefonso 4, David 4, Morrison 3, Wilson 2, Cortez 2, Ferriols 2, Atkins 0, Sena 0, Guevarra 0.
Quarterscores: 25-15; 54-37; 76-52; 105-64.