EVERYTHING seems to be back in order at the Alaska camp.
The Aces continued to display their familiar form after an alarming losing start as they dispatched GlobalPort, 101-88, to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Buoyed by their breakthrough 90-79 win over San Miguel Beer last Saturday that snapped a franchise-worst 14-game skid, the Aces broke away from a nip-and-tuck battle down the stretch to build some momentum at the crucial juncture of eliminations.
Buck Henton sustained his stellar play, tallying 36 points, 21 boards, and four assists, while Calvin Abueva sparked the late salvo for the Aces, who dealt the Batang Pier their second successive setback and fifth overall in eight games.
The Aces benefited from absence of GlobalPort star guard Stanley Pringle, who’s mourning the passing of his father in the US.
“Condolences to Stanley. He’s one of the best guards in the league,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “It’s nice to get some of these breaks that we haven’t gotten in a while.”
“The thing I like the last two games, hindi malayo ang game namin sa last 14 games namin in a sense na lamang kami at humabol ang kalaban, but imbis na nag-fold kami, nag-bounce back kami sa game,” he added. “I think that’s what I’ve been waiting to see.”
Abueva typified the fight the Compton was talking as The Beast recovered from a slow start to scatter all his 12 points in the payoff period, where the Aces outscored the Batang Pier, 34-21, rebuilding a double-digit lead after squandering an early 13-point cushion in the first canto.
Noy Baclao also had a hand in the late surge by scoring all his eight points in the final frame, while JVee Casio and Sonny Thoss also delivered with double-digit scoring outputs for the Aces.
Murphy Holloway led the Batang Pier with 25 points, nine boards, four blocks, and three steals, while Sean Anthony and Mac Cardona also put up solid showing that went for naught.
Terrence Romeo was held to just five points on 2-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes.
ALASKA 101 – Henton 36, Abueva 12, Casio 11, Thoss 10, Baclao 8, Racal 7, Encisio 7, Exciminiano 6, Banchero 2, Pascual 2, Mendoza 0, Cruz 0
GLOBALPORT 88 – Holloway 25, Anthony 19, Cardona 12, Guinto 10, Cortez 9, Romeo 5, Arana 4, Grey 2, Baracael 2, Celiz 0, Paredes 0
Quarterscores: 26-18, 46-45, 67-67, 101-88