Alaska withstood Meralco’s fourth quarter onslaught to escape with a narrow 88-86 victory on Thursday and gain a share of the lead in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Forward Vic Manuel scored 13 points plus nine rebounds while Chris Banchero posted 13 points. Jayvee Casio contributed 12 points to help the Aces to grab a share of the top spot also occupied by San Miguel Beermen that are carrying a similar 7-1 win-loss record.
Dondon Hontiveros and RJ Jazul chipped in 11 points each also for the Aces who extended their win streak to four.
Cliff Hodge led Meralco with 25 points and 13 rebounds. The Bolts’ record, after suffering a three-game losing skid dropped to 1-8.
In the first game, veteran Willie Wilson tallied his first 20-20 in 12 years to send Barako Bull to a 105-98 overtime win against Talk ‘N Text. The Energy, with the victory, stopped a back-to-back losing skid to improve their win-loss record to 4-4.
Wilson posted 15 of his career-high 28 points in the third quarter in addition to 20 rebounds and three assists. Guard Ryan Roose Garcia finished with 22 points before suffering a shoulder injury midway in the overtime period.
“We worked hard and we played big,” said the former La Salle forward Wilson.
After trailing behind 19-27 by the end of the first quarter, the Energy bounced back in the second period outscoring the Tropang Texters 25-16 through the prowess of JC Intal and John Rodney Brondial. TNT managed to establish a slim edge at halftime 44-43.
Barako Bull posted an advantage in the last two periods but Talk ‘N Text fought hard up to the final minute. TNT’s rookie Jeth Troy, who posted 19 points plus nine rebounds and two blocks sank two free throws in the last 15 seconds to tie the score at 97-all.
Both teams failed to score in the remaining seconds that sent the game to overtime.
Wilson took charge scoring five of Barako’s eight points in the extra five-minute mark to seal the win and hand Talk ‘N Text its third loss. The Texters, whose win-loss record fell to 4-3, only scored one point in overtime.
“We treated the game with sense of urgency,” said Barako Bull coach Koy Banal during the post-game interview. “We talked about this game even before the Rain or Shine game. Now from start to finish, they showed that we just need to be consistent and we need to learn from our setback.”
Intal finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds plus four assists while point guard Jeric Fortuna and Mac Baracael had 10 and nine points, respectively, also for Barako Bull.
Moala Tautuaa posted 20 points plus five rebounds and four assists while Jayson Castro added 19 points plus five rebounds and six assists for the Texters.