ALASKA continued its surge and compounded the misery of Blackwater with a 88-84 decision in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup on Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Bucking the absence of star forward Calvin Abueva, the Aces built a sizeable lead before withstanding a late rally by the Elite to pull off the hard-earned victory – their fourth straight after starting the season with two losses.
Chris Banchero and Vic Manuel picked up the cudgels in the absence of Abueva while Jeron Teng buried a huge three-pointer down the stretch as the Aces dealt the Elite their third straight defeat - and fourth in six games overall.
“I really thought it was going to be a tough game,” Alaska coach Alex Compton said. “I’m very relieved. It helped us that they missed a bunch of free throws.”
“We definitely missed Calvin, but other guys stepped up,” he added.
Banchero registered 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals, and two assists in almost 31 minutes as a starter, hitting two free throws that put the Aces up back by two possessions after the Elite came to within a point, 80-81, following a run capped by a Mike DiGregorio right-wing three pointer with a little over minutes left.
Manuel added 16 points, six boards, two assists, and one steal in just 20 minutes as the Muscle Man led the bench mob again and continued to prove that he’s back to tip-top shape.
But it was Teng who shone brightest down the stretch as the rookie wingman showed poise beyond his year by knocking down a stop-and-pop triple off a jumpball situation that prove to be the dagger and put the Aces ahead, 86-80, enough cushion to hold on.
The result spoiled another solid performance from Poy Erram who pumped in 14 points, grabbed 21 rebounds, blocked five shots, and added two assists, and two steals in 36 minutes that went for naught.
ALASKA 88 – Banchero 16, Manuel 16, Racal 14, Teng 10, Casio 7, Enciso 6, Cruz 5, Baclao 4, Thoss 3, Pascual 3, Magat 2, Exciminiano 2, Potts 0
BLACKWATER 84 – DiGregorio 15, Belo 15, Erram 14, Sumang 10, Maliksi 10, Jose 8, Cortez 5, Sena 5, Cruz 2, Marcelo 0, Javier 0, Pinto 0
Quartercores: 20-16, 43-35, 67-61, 88-84