ALASKA came through when it mattered as it fended off shorthanded GlobalPort, 103-101, to sustain its surge in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Aces trailed most of the way against a Batang Pier side missing dynamic duo Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle, but banked on a fourth-quarter rally to come out with their fifth straight victory that tightened their grip on the top spot.
Calvin Abueva brandished his all-around brilliance, scattering a career-high 29 points on top of 14 boards and four assists to lead the Aces, who handed the Batang Pier their fifth loss in seven games.
The result spoiled the debut of new GlobalPort import Shawn Taggart, who had 36 points and 16 boards against seven turnovers in his first game replacing stand-in reinforcement Calvin Warner.
“I really thought GlobalPort outplayed us,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “But Calvin made some huge shots and once again, at the end of the game, our defense carried us.”
Abueva and Ping Exciminiano conspired in the fourth quarter where the Aces wiggled out of a tight battle after making the necessary stops that translated into transition baskets.
Shane Edwards was solid as usual as the Aces import registered 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting, along with11 boards, four blocks, two assists, and two steals in 39 minutes.
Jeric Fortuna and Paolo Taha replaced the injured Romeo and Pringle in the starting lineup and stepped up in their absence as they finished in double-digit scoring.
Taha gave the Batang Pier their last taste of the lead at 94-93 with a left-wing triple with three minutes and 31 seconds left, before the Aces turned the game around for good.
ALASKA 103 – Abueva 29, Edwards 21, Manuel 12, Exciminiano 10, Jazul 8, Banchero 6, Thoss 6, Dela Rosa 5, Casio 2, Eman 2, Menk 2, Dela Cruz 0, Hontiveros 0, Racal 0
GLOBALPORT 101 – Taggart 36, Jensen 13, Uyloan 12, Fortuna 11, Taha 11, Yeo 7, Washington 5, Mamaril 4, Semerad 2, Kramer 0, Maierhofer 0
Quarterscores: 16-30, 48-51, 74-78, 103-101