Alaska defeated Talk ‘N Text, 99-81, to secure entry into the semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday.
Import Rob Dozier led the Aces with 20 points and 14 rebounds while big man Eric Menk contributed 10 points and five boards.
Alaska enjoyed a slight advantage in the opening 12 minutes of action but a 21-21 deadlock ensued going into the second quarter.
Forward Calvin Abueva with seven points, led the Aces’ charge before the break to put his squad ahead, 53-37, at halftime.
After two quarters of play, bench scoring proved to be effective for the Aces allowing them to edge TNT by 10 points, 23-13.
Alaska sustained its raids after the restart behind veteran Tony Dela Cruz’s five points. The Aces were able to beef up their lead to as much as 20 points, 77-57, with just a quarter left to be played.
The Aces insidious attacks continued as their lead ballooned to as much as 25 points, 91-66, during the final chapter of the match.
TNT scrambled to mount a counterattack against the Aces as the end of regulation nears but their effort was ineffective until the final buzzer.
Alaska’s bench propelled the team into another semifinals with a 48-22 edge in the final tally.
Abueva stepped up in his team’s bid for the semis, registering a total of 18 markers on a 7-out-of-16 shooting in the field in addition to 10 rebounds.
Sonny Thoss fortified Alaska’s frontcourt with eight points and nine rebounds while Dela Cruz finished with eight points.
Meanwhile, the backcourt trio of Cyrus Baguio, Chris Exciminiano and Dondon Hontiveros grabbed eight points apiece for the Aces.
Import David Simon had a prolific output for TNT with a double-double performance of 20 points and 13 rebounds while Larry Fonacier and Troy Rosario had 19 and 13 markers, respectively.
Alaska’s head coach Alex Compton said that he did not expect that the game would end in a blowout considering the outcome of their last bout against TNT.
“I’m grateful with the efforts they made there and it makes me proud to be a coach,” Compton said during the postmatch interview.
He gave credit to their tight defense that kept TNT at bay throughout the game.
“I am just proud of my team’s defense. We talked about it before this game and I said our defense needed to be perfect.”
Compton also mentioned that he is happy with the output of his key players in the absence of Vic Manuel, who is currently nursing a calf injury.
The Alaska Aces will face the Meralco Bolts in the semifinals opener on Monday, at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
ALASKA 99 – Dozier 20, Abueva 18, Menk 10, Baguio 8, Dela Cruz 8, Exciminiano 8, Hontiveros 8, Thoss 8, Jazul 7, Baclao 4, Banchero 0.
TROPANG TNT 81 – Simon 20, Fonacier 19, Rosario 13, De Ocampo 8, Castro 6, Reyes R. 5, Tautuaa 4, Carey 2, Rosser 2, Williams 2, Ababou 0.
Quarters: 21-21, 53-37, 77-57, 99-81