ALASKA reminded everyone why it remained a force to be reckoned with as it dismantled Talk ‘N Text, 114-98, on Friday night for a rousing start to its PBA Philippine Cup campaign at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The defensive-oriented Aces clicked offensively as they zoomed to an early lead after scoring 62 first-half points and never looked back to topple an early favorite in the Tropang Texters.
Vic Manuel tallied 22 points and 10 boards in just 21 minutes as the workhorse forward led a balanced effort that saw six players scoring at least eight points for the Aces, who gained a share of the early lead with Rain or Shine and NLEX.
Calvin Abueva added 15 points, five boards, two assists, and two steals as he combined with Manuel, his teammate in the last Fiba 3x3 World Tour in Abu Dhabi, to set the tone for the Aces' high-scoring season debut.
“We made some shots and I thought it was a contribution all around…and there was good ball movement,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “Offensively, we really got it going. I don’t think we’ve scored that much before since I’ve been the coach.”
Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario, this year’s top two picks, were disappointments in their anticipated debuts, combining for just six points on 3-of-12 shooting for the Texters.
Fellow big man Ranidel de Ocampo picked up the slack, scattering 26 points, 15 boards, and three steals as the Gilas Pilipinas standout hardly showed signs of fatigue after coming off a tiring stint with the national team.
The Aces held a 17-15 lead, before scoring 10 unanswered points that sparked rout where they led by as many as 21 points.
Alaska 114 – Manuel 22, Casio 17, Thoss 17, Abueva 15, Banchero 14, Baguio 8, Baclao 6, Hontiveros 6, Jazul 4, Exciminiano 3, Dela Rosa 2, Dela Cruz 0
TNT 98 – De Ocampo 26, Castro 19, Fonacier 15, R. Reyes 9, Rosser 7, Carey 6, J. Reyes 5, Rosario 4, Aban 3, Miranda 2, Tautuaa 2, Ababou 0, Rodriguez 0
Quarterscores: 30-18; 62-46, 89-73; 114-98