ALASKA survived a gritty stand by Blackwater to pull off a 103-101 win on Wednesday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Carl Bryan Cruz and Jeron Teng had 18 points each while Chris Banchero and Sonny Thoss hit crucial jumpers in the endgame to steady the Aces ship after the Elite came storming back from 13 points down.
The Aces won their second straight game after opening the season with a loss as the pro league takes a break for Team Pilipinas' stint in the sixth window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Banchero hit a go-ahead jumper with 1:04 left in the game, 101-100, before Thoss made it a three-point game with a long jumper, time down to 34.3 seconds.
Thoss finished with 16 points as he stepped up in the absence of injured top scorer Vic Manuel while Banchero added 11 points and 16 assists.
“I thought the guys did a tremendous job considering all the stuff that was going on,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton. “Blackwater really scares me. You saw the shots Allein hit? Roi Sumang, he was killing us in the first quarter.
"Their players are playing well, and they scare me. To come out with a win in this situation is nice.”
Blackwater was still up by three points, 97-94, with 2:15 left before Ping Exciminiano and Cruz converted five straight points to wrest the lead for Alaska, 99-97.
Allein Maliksi gave Blackwater the lead for the last time at 100-99. He finished with 25 points while Roi Sumang added 18 as the Elite lost their fourth consecutive game and dropped to 1-6.
Alaska (103) – Cruz 18, Teng 18, Thoss 16, Exciminiano 14, Banchero 11, Ayaay 9, Pascual 8, Galliguez 7, Potts 2, Baclao 0.
Blackwater (101) – Maliksi 25, Sumang 18, DiGregorio 14, Jose 9, Tratter 7, Belo 7, Sena 6, Cortez 6, Desiderio 4, Alolino 3, Eriobu 2, Javier 0, Banal 0.
Quarters: 29-28; 49-48; 75-72; 103-101.