ALASKA restored order in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup semifinals against GlobalPort, waltzing to an 82-69 victory in Game Three on Friday night to grab the upper hand in the series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The fancied Aces banked on their trademark defense then overcame a third-quarter surge by the Batang Pier to notch a second straight win after going down in the opener of the best-of-seven series.
Game Four is on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Credit coach Pido (Jarencio) and his coaching staff for whatever they did in the third,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “We just responded with a huge defensive effort in the fourth.”
In all, Alaska held GlobalPort to an unacceptable 27-percent (24-of-90) shooting, including missing all but two of their 30 three-point attempts.
The Aces also took advantage of the ejection of Terrence Romeo, the GlobalPort star who picked up a second technical foul halfway through the fourth quarter, where Alaska maintained a double-digit cushion thereafter.
Vic Manuel was the epitome of efficiency, tallying 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting in just 17 minutes to lead six Aces with at least nine points each.
Fellow super sub RJ Jazul missed eight of his 10 shots, but made his living from the charity stripe to finish 12 points on top of nine boards, four assists, and two steals, while Chris Banchero added 10 markers, including a jumper that gave the Aces their biggest lead at 80-65.
The Aces’ defense was in full effect early as they limited the Batang Pier to just 26 points in the first half, before GlobalPort caught fire in the third canto where it outscored Alaska, 27-17 to knot the count heading into the fourth.
But the Aces weathered the storm, building another double-digit cushion in the payoff period where they held the Batang Pier to just 16 points.
ALASKA 82 – Manuel 16, Jazul 12, Banchero 10, Casio 10, Abueva 9, Hontiveros 9, Exciminiano 4, Baguio 3, Menk 3, Baclao 2, Dela Cruz 2, Thoss 2, Dela Rosa 0
GLOBALPORT 69 – Romeo 17, Pringle 12, Kramer 11, Washington 7, Sumang 6, Yeo 6, Jensen 5, Maierhofer 5, Mamaril 0, Peña 0, Semerad 0, Uyloan 0
Quarterscores: 26-13, 36-26, 53-53, 82-69