Alaska, through an explosive third quarter performance, posted a 108-100 win over Barako Bull in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.
The win, which was Alaska’s ninth victory after 11 games, also assured the Aces of at least a playoff berth for the top two spots.
Calvin Abueva led Alaska’s offense in the entire game posting 22 points and13 rebounds. The Aces and San Miguel Beer, with identical 9-2 win-loss records, are now sharing the top spot.
“We always talk how we respect them [Barako Bull]. If I have to vote for head coach of the year, I’d vote coach Koy [Banal],” said Alaska coach Alex Compton during the post-game interview. “Calvin [Abueva] and RJ [Jazul] made plays late.”
“I’m happy with the standings but we missed defensive rotations, we committed too many fouls, I’m happy we’re 9-2, going into the playoffs. Our defense is pretty solid but we need to get better,” he added.
Forward Vic Manuel finished with 21 points plus seven rebounds while Cyrus Baguio, Sonny Thoss and RJ Jazul notched 11 points each also for the Aces. Jayvee Casio and Dondon Hontiveros contributed nine and eight points, respectively.
The Energy enjoyed a 30-23 lead in the first period but the Aces outscored them in the second frame 27-18 and seized the advantage at the end of second half.
Barako Bull and Alaska engaged in a tight battle in the first half bringing the score to 50-48. But the Aces initiated a blistering 13-4 run in the third quarter behind the prowess of Manuel and Abueva. Alaska established a solid 63-49 advantage with still 9:26 to go.
Nonoy Baclao, Manuel and Abueva tallied more points to stretch Alaska’s lead at the end of third period 82-70. The Aces also outscored the Energy in that period 32-22.
Barako Bull threatened Alaska in the fourth period by reducing the deficit to only two but the Aces led by Abueva grabbed a double-digit lead within the final two-minutes to ensure their win.
Willie Wilson led Barako Bull with 23 points and 14 rebounds plus four assists.
The Energy, with a win-loss record of 5-6, were denied of a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.
In the second game, Northern Luzon Expressway beat Rain or Shine 111-106.
Rain or Shine’s win-loss record dropped to 9-3.