Alaska leaned on a solid performance of Vic Manuel and Calvin Abueva to crush Mahindra, 107-91, on Sunday to strengthen its chances for a quarterfinal playoff bid in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The former Philippine School of Business Administration slot man Manuel finished with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field while Abueva dazzled with 18 points on 7-of-13 from the field plus 10 rebounds and three blocks to give Alaska a 5-4 win-loss record.
“I don’t think Mahindra won’t give up in this game,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton during the post game press conference. “Chris Gavina (Mahindra assistant coach) made his team competitive after winning back-to-back games before they lost to Talk ‘N Text.”
Jayvee Casio contributed 11 points and six assists, while RJ Jazul and Kevin Racal had nine points each also for the Aces.
Mahindra dropped to 2-7 win-loss record and no longer capable of reaching the quarterfinals.
Alex Mallari led Mahindra with 23 points and eight assists.
After a 27-all deadlock at the end of the opening period, the Aces went to Abueva and Casio who ignited a 26-15 run forming a 53-42 advantage in the first half. They outworked their opponent in the first two periods by hauling down 29 rebounds against 14 of the Floodbuster.
Alaska’s rebounding power in the first half gave them a 24-14 edge in points at the paint and 17-8 second chance points production. The Aces also shot accurately overall from the field than the Floodbuster in the first half (51%-41%).
Alaska even stretched its lead to as many as 14 points, 64-50, early in the second half after the basket of Casio and veteran Tony Dela Cruz. But Mahindra dropped a blazing 22-12 bomb highlighted by Joseph Eriobu’s three baskets to narrow the gap to just 72-74 at the end of third quarter.
Mahindra outscored Alaska in the third canto via 30-21. The Floodbuster, though, couldn’t sustain their impressive run in the last period as they fell to the Aces’ trapping defense.
Alaska maintained a slim lead in the early part of the fourth period before crushing Mahindra in the finale with a blitzing 17-4 run in the last seven minutes of the game. The former San Sebastian Stags forward Abueva hit a triple with 3:41 left in the game to provide them a 96-81 lead.
The Aces were never threatened from thereon.
Meanwhile, head coach Chot Reyes bared the list of Gilas Pilipinas for future international tournaments.
They are Abueva, Alaska Art Dela Cruz of Blackwater, Japeth Aguilar of Ginebra, Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort, Raymond Almazan of Rain or Shine, June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer, Paul Lee of Star, Jayson Castro of Talk ‘N Text, LA Revilla of Mahindra, Jonathan Grey of Meralco, Bradwyn Guinto of NLEX, and Norbert Torres of Phoenix who will join Gilas cadets in the pool.