The Alaska Aces edged the GlobalPort Batang Pier by one game by posting an 82-69 win in Game Three of the best-of-seven semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Friday.
Vic Manuel, displaying his prowess led the Aces to victory with 16 points and five rebounds via 73 percent shooting performance in the field.
Alaska immediately dominated the opening quarter with Calvin Abueva leading the charge resulting in the Aces leading, 26-13.
GlobalPort’s woes persisted in the early minutes of the second quarter, as their top guns Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo unable to find their rhythm and launch potent attacks.
The Aces, on the other hand, continued their fluid onslaught before the break highlighted by the eight-point explosion of Cyrus Baguio. Alaska finished the first half with a ten-point advantage, 36-26.
The Batang Pier finally recovered in the third canto to outscore the Aces 27-17 and bringing the score to 53-all going into the final 12 minutes of play.
GlobalPort managed to maintain their blistering attacks in the initial minutes of the fourth period as a Pringle layup followed by a triple by Roi Sumang allowed them to grab the lead, 57-54, with less than 10 minutes left in the game.
However, the Aces responded with a 9-0 run to recapture the lead, 65-57, following a basket by Manuel at the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
Problems piled up for GlobalPort as Romeo was ejected midway through the final period after his second technical foul because of a second motion infraction from a scuffle with Aces guard RJ Jazul.
Alaska prevailed down the line against GlobalPort as their crafty defense and offense resulted in 29 points sealing their second win in their best-of-seven series.
Jazul ended the game with 12 points and nine boards while fellow guards JV Casio and Chris Banchero provided 10 points each.
Aces star forward Calvin Abueva posted nine points plus 15 rebounds while veteran cager Dondon Hontiveros had nine markers.
Despite being thrown out of the match, Romeo still led GlobalPort with 17 points while Pringle added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
“We’re up one game against arguably the most explosive team in the league. I will enjoy this [moment]tonight,” Alaska head coach Alex Compton said during the post-game press conference.
Compton added that their defense played a vital role in their win despite allowing their foes to catch 27 points in the third quarter.
“I think other than the third quarter, our defensive energy is in there. That’s why we kill them in practice,” he said.
Meanwhile, Compton revealed that they put a lot of effort in practice in preparation for the on-court skills of the duo of Pringle and Romeo, commending his wards for their hard work on defense.
“I think we just responded with a huge defensive effort in the fourth. It’s really hard guarding those guys. It was just a real defensive effort.”
The fourth game of the semifinals meeting between the Alaska Aces and the GlobalPort Batang Pier is scheduled on Sunday, 5 p.m., at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
Alaska (82) – Manuel 16, Jazul 12, Banchero 10, Casio 10, Abueva 9, Hontiveros 9, Exciminiano 4, Baguio 3, Menk 3, Baclao 2, Dela Cruz 2, Thoss 2.
Globalport (69) – Romeo 17, Pringle 12, Kramer 11, Washington 7, Sumang 6, Yeo 6, Jensen 5, Maierhofer 5.
Quarterscores: 26-13, 10-13, 17-27, 16-29.