Alaska assured of semis shot after downing Barako

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Alaska clinched at least a playoff for an outright PBA Philippine Cup semifinal seat after trampling Barako Bull, 108-100, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.

The Aces protected a double-digit lead that the Energy nearly erased and ended the elimination round tied with the San Miguel Beermen at the top at 9-2.

Alaska led by as much as 16 points, 82-66, late in the third quarter, but Barako slowly chipped away the lead and came to within two, the last at 92-94 with 5:06 left in the fourth period.

The Aces pulled away for good after mounting an 11-3 run to rebuild a ten-point cushion that the Energy failed to completely crumble.

Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel provided spark off the bench and combined for 43 points and 20 rebounds for Alaska, which can still make the Final Four outright depending on the outcome of the match between Rain Or Shine and NLEX, which is ongoing as of posting.

Willie Wilson tallied 23 markers and 14 caroms for Barako Bull, which failed to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the first round of the playoffs and will now have to win twice in order to make the next playoff round.

Box Scores:

Alaska 108-Abueva 22, Manuel 21, Baguio 11, Jazul 11, Thoss 11, Casio 9, Hontiveros 8, Banchero 7, Baclao 4, Dela Cruz 4, Exciminiano 0, Menk 0

Barako Bull 100-Wilson 23, Intal 15, Lanete 14, Urbiztondo 13, Monfort 12, Fortuna 10, Brondial 7, Miranda 3, Pennisi 3, Baracael 0, Forrester 0

Quarterscores: 23-30; 50-48; 82-70; 108-100

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