DONDON Hontiveros and JV Casio are feeling right at home in their new team.
Alaska’s new recruits provided the endgame fireworks in a 90-84 win over Petron in a preseason game at the Reyes gym in Mandaluyong on Friday that brought a smile on the face of Aces head coach Luigi Trillo.
“It's nice to get a confidence-booster with this kind of a win. I think our new guys, particularly JV and Dondon blended well with the rest of the team and did the right plays when needed," Trillo told Spin.ph.
Trillo was proud of the poise the Aces showed in the final quarter at the height of a big Boosters’ run that razed an 18-point Alaska lead and put Petron ahead, 63-62, on a one-handed transition dunk by Jay Washington.
Casio, last season’s top rookie pick, gave a good account of himself in his first game in an Alaska uniform since being traded in a blockbuster offseason deal that also involved former Aces top point LA Tenorio.
The 5-foot-8 one-time anchor of Smart Gilas-Pilipinas finished with 15 points, including a crucial rebound and a perfect feed to a speeding Cyrus Baguio that gave Alaska an 88-84 lead in the final 33 seconds.
Despite the rousing win, Trillo believes chemistry is something the Aces need to continue to work on, especially since Hontiveros and Casio only started practicing with the team this week.
"Our two new guys still need to work more with the rest, familiarize with the system. And we hope we could keep improving our game," added the young coach.
Sonny Thoss also had a big game for Alaska with 15 points, while Baguio and Mac Baracael added 14 and 13, respectively.
Petron's towering frontline drew a combined 53 points from Washington, top defensive player Arwind Santos, and No. 1 overall rookie pick June Mar Fajardo, who finished with 16 markers.
“Defense was better today. But Petron had too many turnovers and missed fts. Made only 3-3pt FGs also. No worries. Just continue to improve,” tweeted San Miguel Corp. sports director Noli Eala on his account@NoliEala.