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Banchero hits game-winning triple as Alaska comes back to subdue Meralco

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—Chris Banchero scored the go-ahead three-pointer as Alaska completed a late comeback to shock Meralco, 81-79, in the nightcap of the PBA Philippine Cup twin bill at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

Banchero, who is not actually known for his long range game, shot a corner triple with 4.1 seconds left to cap the Aces rally that completely erased a nine-point deficit at the death.

The Bolts led, 77-68, with 2:43 to go, but treys from Jvee Casio and RJ Jazul sparked a 10-0 run that put the Aces up, 78-77, with 27.3 seconds remaining.

Jonathan Grey appeared to have saved the day for Meralco as he drove for a layup to put the club ahead again, 79-78, but he missed the ensuing free throw off a foul that could have stretched the lead, giving Alaska 13.6 seconds to design its final assault.

Vic Manuel found Banchero wide open from the right corner for the eventual game-winner as Meralco failed to at least force overtime as time expired.

Manuel led the Aces with 22 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and one steal, while Calvin Abueva had a solid all-around game with nine points, seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and one steal.

Chris Newsome had 23 markers, eight rebounds, five dimes, and one steal for the Bolts, who shot only 5-of-16 from the line.

Box Scores:

Alaska 81-Manuel 22, Banchero 9, Abueva 9, Mendoza 9, Casio 8, Jazul 7, Dela Cruz 6, Exciminiano 4, Magat 2, Pascual 2, Hontiveros 2, Racal 1, Galliguez 0, Cruz 0

Meralco 79-Newsome 23, Hodge 16, Hugnatan 15, Grey 8, Daquioag 6, Amer 4, Al-Hussaini 2, Caram 2, Yeo 2, Chua 1, Faundo 0, Nabong 0, Uyloan 0

Quarterscores 22-26, 42-36, 55-61, 81-79

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