Alaska spoils Star's gallant stand for share of lead

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Alaska withstood the absence of Eric Menk and a late rally by Star to win, 107-102, in the nightcap of a rare Tuesday PBA Philippine Cup doubleheader at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Aces remained tough despite losing Menk to an apparent broken nose suffered in the second quarter after getting accidentally hit by Marc Pingris and cruised to a lead as large as 11 before keeping a six-point cushion, 103-97, with 45.5 seconds left in the game.

But a three-point play from Pingris drew the Hotshots to within three, 100-103, with 35 seconds to go.

Jvee Casio then gave Star another chance to inch closer as he was called for a traveling violation in the next play, and Alex Mallari did not disappoint as he scored on a layup with 14 seconds on the clock to further trim Alaska's lead, 103-102.

But Cyrus Baguio scored on a baseline jumper to stretch the gap to three, 105-102, with 5.6 seconds to go.

The Aces then forced a James Yap turnover, and Baguio sealed the win by scoring on another field goal.

Baguio's four-point stretch saved Casio's fine performance that was nearly spoiled by the crucial turnover. Casio had 24 points, making all of his four triples, three rebounds, four assists, and one steal for Alaska, which once again tied San Miguel at the top of the team standings.

Yap finished with 20 markers, eight caroms, and two dishes of his own for Star, which lost for the third straight time.

Box Scores:

Alaska 107-Casio 24, Manuel 17, Baguio 14, Abueva 13, Thoss 12, Hontiveros 7, Jazul 5, Baclao 4, Banchero 4, Dela Cruz 3, Dela Rosa 2, Menk 2, Exciminiano 0

Star 102-Yap 20, Melton 18, Pingris 17, Sangalang 10, Simon 9, Barroca 8, Maliksi 7, Mallari 7, Taha 4, J. Pascual 2, R. Pascual 0, Alvarez 0

Quarterscores: 21-20, 50-46, 85-75, 107-102

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