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Alaska withstands NLEX's fourth quarter attack for solo lead

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Alaska nearly squandered a late double-digit lead but held on to an 89-81 victory over NLEX in their PBA Philippine Cup clash at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.

Up by as much as 20, the Aces held an 82-69 advantage over the Road Warriors with 5:08 remaining in the ball game.

But Sean Anthony and Jonas Villanueva unleashed a 9-0 run that cut the lead down to just four, 82-78, with 1:55 left.

Jvee Casio softened the rally with a triple to extend Alaska's edge to seven, 85-78, with 1:42 to go.

Villanueva scored on another deuce only to be answered by Cyrus Baguio's own field goal, keeping the gap at seven with 1:10 left.

Anthony made a split from the free throw line to trim NLEX's deficit to six, 81-87, and the team forced a 24-second violation on Alaska, getting a chance to cut the deficit further.

But Garvo Lanete lost the ball in the ensuing possession, and Sonny Thoss made two more charities for the final score.

Thoss finished with a double-double of 16 points and ten rebounds along with two assists and a block for the Aces, who now took the solo leadership in the team standings at 6-1.

Fellow Gilas player Calvin Abueva also had a double-double with ten markers and ten caroms while giving out four dimes and getting four swats.

Anthony came off the bench for 21 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, while Enrico Villanueva added 12 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks for the Road Warriors, whose two-game winning streak came to an end.

Box Scores:

Alaska 89-Thoss 16, Dela Rosa 11, Manuel 11, Abueva 10, Menk 9, Banchero 6, Casio 5, Hontiveros 5, Baguio 4, Dela Cruz 4, Exciminiano 3, Jazul 3, Racal 2, Baclao 0

NLEX 81-Anthony 21, E. Villanueva 12, Taulava 10, Alas 9, J. Villanueva 9, Enciso 5, Reyes 5, Camson 4, Khobuntin 4, Cardona 2, Apinan 0, Arboleda 0, Borboran 0, Lanete 0

Quarterscores: 23-15; 42-31; 68-52; 89-81

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno