ANTIPOLO –Alaska dealt a depleted Barangay Ginebra side a 97-83 defeat to sustain its momentum in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday night at packed Ynares Center.
Pouncing on a Gin Kings side that was missing Greg Slaughter, the Aces established a sizeable lead in the third quarter before shrugging off a late rally by the Gin Kings to pull off their third straight victory after starting the conference with two losses.
Vic Manuel provided a huge spark off the bench, while Sonny Thoss dominated the paint in the absence of Slaughter as the Aces handed the Gin Kings their second straight defeat that canceled out their 2-0 start.
“You have to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way,” Aces coach Alex Compton said of the absence of Slaughter, apart from Joe Devance and Art dela Cruz.
The Aces turned to their trademark suffocating defense to rattle the Gin Kings and force them to commit 23 turnovers that translated to 27 turnover points as they clicked on both ends especially in the third quarter where they outscored Ginebra, 37-19, to build enough cushion entering the fourth.
The Aces then built their biggest lead at 85-67 after a Chris Banchero lay halfway through the payoff period, before the Gin Kings scored eight unanswered points, capped by a breakaway layup by Paolo Taha, to trim the gap to 10 with a little over four minutes left.
But Alaska refused to let the Gin Kings come any closer, putting an end to the short-lived comeback attempt and seeing the Ginebra fans start to leave the venue in droves.
Manuel registered 18 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one steal in just 23 minutes, while Thoss added 17 markers, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block in 30 minutes as a starter.
Banchero chipped in 14 points, six assists, five rebounds, and two steals, without a turnover in almost 31 minutes, while JVee Casio contributed 13 points, three boards, and two assists.
Calvin Abueva barely missed a double-double as he churned out nine points and nine boards, along with five assists, two steals, and two blocks, as he proved to be a thorn – and an annoyance – in the side of the Gin Kings.
Aljon Mariano led Ginebra with 15 points, nine boards, three assists, one steal, and one block in 33 minutes as he started in place of Slaughter, with Aguilar thrust to center.
ALASKA 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0
GINEBRA 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0
Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83