Power forward Vic Manuel’s gigantic performance powered Alaska Aces’s 114-98 victory over the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday.
Manuel finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds while Jayvee Casio and 6’8 center Sonny Thoss added 17 points each for the Aces.
Calvin Abueva and shooting guard Chris Banchero contributed 15 and 14 points, respectively, also for Alaska.
“The guys played with high energy and credit to my coaching staff. They took care of the team while I was away with Gilas Pilipinas national team,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton during a post game interview. “I didn’t expect to win by a large margin.”
Ranidel de Ocampo led Talk ‘N Text with 26 points and 15 rebounds but this year’s first overall pick Moala Tautuaa and second overall pick Troy Rosario contributed only two and four points, respectively.
Alaska surprised Talk ‘N Text with a running game and great interior defense to grab the lead 30-18 by the end of the first period. The Aces’ lead ballooned to 62-46 at halftime.
The combined effort of Thoss, Manuel and Abueva resulted in an additional 34 points in the first two quarters.
The Tropang Texters had a 17-of-43 shooting in the field while the Aces registered 24-of-41.
Alaska sustained its offensive in the second half resulting in an 89-73 lead by the end of third quarter. Talk ‘N Text remained struggling for the rest of the fourth period en route to absorbing its first loss this season.
In the first game, Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) banked on the stellar perforamance of forward Sean Anthony and veteran Paul Asi Taulava to defeat Blackwater 90-86.
Anthony posted 14 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists while Taulava led NLEX with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Rookie guard Simon Ensico notched 15 points via 5-of-8 shooting in the three-point zone also for the Road Warriors.
“Sean stepped up in the fourth, Asi made his free throws and we played tough defense in second half. Blackwater really played well,” NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez told reporters during the post-game interview.
“We made some stops in the fourth and this game serves a lesson for us and we learned a lot. We didn’t play as a team; Asi is not yet in game shape. Enciso is really a good acquisition for us. I saw him played in the D-league and I love the way he play.”
Keith Agovida led the Elite with 15 points while Raphy Reyes and Reil Cervantes finished with 13 points and 12 points respectively.
Blackwater managed to establish a slim lead 42-41 in the first half.
But the NLEX Road Warriors returned strong early in the second half scoring three straight baskets courtesy of the 42-year-old Taulava to bring the score to 55-49 with 3:12 to go.
Blackwater managed to close the gap 59-60 by the start of fourth quarter.
Taulava led NLEX with 10 points while Ensico had nine points via 3-of-4 shooting beyond the arc.
The Elite regained the lead, 69-64, through Jason Balles¬teros’ dunk with 9:14 to go in the final quarter. But the Road Warriors unleashed a 9-2 rally highlighted by Anthony’s back-to-back baskets earning them an 83-78 lead with still 4:02 to go.
Mark Borboran, who contributed 10 points, brought the score to 85-78 after scoring on a jumper with only 3:19 remaining.
Agovida’s tough baseline basket narrowed the gap to 86-87 with only 31 ticks remaining.
Taulava hit two more free throws in the last 19 seconds to stretch the lead back to three, 89-86.
Anthony converted one of his two free throws to seal the win for his team.