ALASKA gave Mahindra a quick reality check as it rolled to a 98-92 victory to remain unbeaten in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coming off their first win of the conference against a relatively weaker foe in NLEX, the Floodbuster ran into a perennial contender in the Aces who led from start to finish on the way to a third straight victory.
Cory Jefferson sustained his steady play with 30 points and 11 boards, while Calvin Abueva sparked the Aces’ bench as 'The Beast' finished with 17 points and six boards in just 24 minutes.
But it was Sonny Thoss who sparked the late surge, scoring six of his 11 points in a 10-0 blast late in the payoff period that gave the Aces a 15-point lead, enough to cushion a late rally from the Floodbuster, who fell to their third loss in four games.
“I didn’t like the way we ended the last minute, but outside of it, our guys did a great job,” Aces coach Alex Compton said.
“But I wasn’t comfortable one bit in this game,” he added. “They’re all real tests.”
Except for relaxing a bit late in the game, the Aces proved true to their identity all-game long, establishing a 10-point first-quarter lead that grew to as many as 18 points.
After the Floodbuster came to within five points, 87-82, following a James White slam, the Aces scored 10 unanswered points that all but took the fight out of the Floodbuster.
White led the Floodbuster with 30 points, 14 boards, three blocks, and one steal, but found little help outside Mark Yee, LA Revilla, and Gary David as Alex Mallari was held to just seven points on just nine attempts in 23 minutes as a starter.
ALASKA 98 – Jefferson 30, Abueva 17, Thoss 11, Racal 8, Cruz 8, Enciso 6, Exciminiano 5, Galliguez 5, Pascual 2, Casio 2, Mendoza 2, Andrada 2, Magat 0
MAHINDRA 92 – White 30, Yee 13, Revilla 12, David 10, Mallari 7, Celda 5, Paniamogan 5, Guevarra 2, Teng 2, Galanza 2, Ballesteros 2, Elorde 2, Deutchman 0, Caperal 0, Salva 0
Quarterscores: 28-18, 50-40, 74-61, 98-92