PASAY, PHILIPPINES – Alaska survived Globalport’s second half rally to pull off an 82-69 stunner, thus taking a 2-1 lead following Game Three of their Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Vic Manuel, one of the key people behind the hefty fines levied on both the Aces and Batang Pier following Game Two, did the most damage on the low blocks en route to a team-best 16 points on eight-for-11 shooting with five rebounds.
The backcourt trio of RJ Jazul, JV Casio and Chris Banchero continued their stellar shooting from Game Two, with Jazul tallying 12 markers with nine rebounds, and the latter two adding 10 apiece.
Game Three is set at 5:00 p.m. this Sunday, January 10, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska enjoyed a 10 point lead at the break, 36-26, but Globalport turned the tide on the strength of Terrence Romeo and Joseph Yeo’s 14 points in the third period to knot the ballgame at 53-all entering the final frame.
But the close game did not last long, as Manuel, Jazul, and veteran gunner Dondon Hontiveros turned in a string of baskets to resurrect their lead to 11, 69-58, with 7:09 left in the game.
Making things worse was Romeo’s second technical foul for second motioning on a Jazul offensive foul with 6:37 left, meriting his early exit from the ballgame.
Similar to his Game Two performance, Romeo tallied a game-best 17 points in the match, but went scoreless in the final canto prior to his ejection.
“We just really responded with a huge defensive effort. They scored more points in the third quarter than they did in the first half, but we were able to contain them again [in the fourth quarter]. It is not easy guarding those guys,” said Alaska Head Coach Alex Compton.
“I know it’s a long way to go, so this is not in ways that the series is over. It’s not even close,” he added.
Early on in the match, the Aces made an early game pull away, countering Globalport’s 11-0 spurt in the first four minutes via a 23-2 run of their own built around a four-for-six clip from long range to take a 26-13 lead at the end of the first.
The Batang Pier fought back gallantly in the second quarter behind the inside play of Doug Kramer, but their efforts were quickly doused by timely baskets to maintain a double digit lead at the break.
Kramer finished with one of his best games this tournament so far with 11 points and nine rebounds in the match.