ALASKA gave Mahindra false hopes of pulling off an upset as it came through when it mattered to roll to a 107-91 victory on Sunday to get back on track and move closer to a quarterfinal berth in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Coming off a stunning three-point loss to Blackwater, the Aces saw another tough challenge from another youg team in the Floodbuster for three quarters before turning it up a notch in the payoff period to pull away.
Calvin Abueva sustained his energetic play, pouring in 18 points, 10 boards, three blocks, one assist, and one steal in 27 minutes, while Vic Manuel also provided the biggest spark off the bench, finishing with a team-high 20 points.
As a result, the Aces hiked their win-loss record to 5-4, while handing the Floodubster their seventh loss in nine games, eliminating their victims from contention as well as NLEX and Meralco.
“I don’t think Mahindra has a ‘give up’ in them,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “They certainly gave me a few more gray hairs today.”
The Floodbuster certainly gave the Aces all they could handle, outscoring Alaska, 30-21, in the third quarter to pull to within two points entering the fourth.
The Aces, however, tightened their defensive screws with their patented full-court press that enabled them to outscore the Floodbuster, 33-19, in the payoff period where they broke away with a lead that ballooned to 18 points.
Alex Mallari continued his fine, all-around play, putting up a game-high 23 points along with eight boards, three assists, three steals, and one block, against seven turnovers as his team suffered a second straight setback that negated a two-game win streak.
ALASKA 107 – Manuel 20, Abueva 18, Casio 11, Jazul 9, Racal 9, Dela Cruz 7, Galliguez 7, Hontiveros 7, Thoss 5, Mendoza 5, Magat 3, Pascual 2, Exciminiano 2, Cruz 2
MAHINDRA 91 – Mallari 23, Escoto 16, Eriobu 15, Celda 10, Deutchman 9, Teng 7, Ballesteros 4, Paniamogan 3, Elorde 2, Yee 2, Revilla 0, Salva 0, Gallanza 0, Digregorio 0
Quarterscores: 27-27, 53-42, 74-72, 107-91