Vic Manuel was a spark off the bench to propel Alaska to three straight wins. Dugout Philippines | Franchesca Nicole Collantes
By Ricky Manliguis
ANTIPOLO—Alaska pounced on Ginebra’s lack of ceiling, turning to slotmen Vic Manuel and Sonny Thoss for a 97-83 win and hand the Gins' second straight setback in the main game of Sunday’s PBA Philippine Cup action at the Ynares Center.
After a tight 3 1/2 quarters, the Aces pulled away with 37 points in the third canto, including a 16-2 salvo instigated by Manuel for a 73-63 lead while fending off a spirited Ginebra rally in the fourth to notch the win, the team's third straight in five outings.
Alaska continued the surge in the final frame, as Chris Banchero's lay-up made it an 86-67 bubble with 6:24 left in the game. But Ginebra strung a 8-0 run capped by a Paolo Taha bucket to trim the decifit to 10, 85-75, with over four minutes remaining.
That proved to be the crowd darlings' last stand, however, as Sonny Thoss and JVee Casio combined for eight of the team's final 10 points to seal the victory.
Manuel topscored for the Aces with a game-high 18 points off the bench, with 11 coming in the third, while hauling down five rebounds, two assists and a steal in 23 minutes of action. Thoss had a 17-point, four-board night, while Banchero and Casio combined for 27 markers.
"Sometimes, dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way," winning coach Alex Compton said, in reference to Ginebra’s lack of personnel especially in the middle, where his wards got 46 points in the paint.
"You don't want anybody to get hurt, but when two No. 1 picks on the other team aren't playing, it helps your chances," he also said.
Ginebra, which dropped to an even 2-2 card, missed the services of bigmen Greg Slaughter and Joe Devance due to injuries.
Surprise starter Aljon Mariano scored 15 points with eight rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in 28 minutes of action. Kevin Ferrer, Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson all registered 12 markers each.
Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0
Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.
Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83