ALASKA sent Meralco tumbling back to earth with an 89-75 victory to close in on a prime quarterfinal spot in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Tuesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces gave the Bolts a dose of their of their own medicine, frustrating them with their hustle and defense that translated into the blowout victory that snapped their opponents’ two-game winning streak.
Romeo Travis led a balanced attack with 24 points, 18 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks, while playmakers Jayvee Casio and Chris Banchero added 11 and 10 points, respectively for the Aces, who won for the sixth time in eight games to move on the verge of securing a Top Four spot that comes with a twice-to-beat edge.
The Bolts, on the other hand, dropped to an even 4-4 win-loss slate after beating their last two opponents by an average of 24.5 points.
“I really don’t recall seeing too many games where Meralco was outworked,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “They usually outwork their opponents, but I thought our guys responded and they matched that level of intensity and they committed to help each other.”
Calvin Abueva put up another efficient effort with eight points, nine boards, three assists, two blocks, and one steal in 21 minutes despite continuing to nurse an assortment of injuries, while the rest of the bench provided significant contribution as well.
Meralco import Andre Emmett fired a game-high 28 points, including two that closed the gap to a solitary point, 71-70, with a little over eight minutes left in the payoff period.
But the Aces retaliated with a back-breaking 18-3 salvo that gave them their biggest lead at 16 and took the fight out of the Bolts.
Alaska 89 – Travis 24, Casio 11, Banchero 10, Abueva 8, Hontiveros 8, Manuel 6, Thoss 6, Jazul 6, Dela Rosa 4, Exciminiano 4, Menk 2, Dela Cruz 0
Meralco 75 – Emmett 28, Hodge 12, Ando 11, David 10, Nabong 7, Anthony 5, Ildefonso 2, Dillinger 0, Atkins 0, Cortez 0, Hugnatan 0
Quarterscores: 21-12, 42-35, 67-65, 89-75