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Manuel foils Balkman return with game-winner

Vic Manuel secures the win with this basket. PBA Media Bureau
By JP Abcede

MANILA--Vic Manuel took the spotlight away from returnee San Miguel Beer import Renaldo Balkman as the Alaska Ace forward scored a running jumper from the middle of the lane to preserve the victory with a 105-103 conquest over the defending PBA Commissioner's Cup champions on Saturday at the Lamberto Macias Sports Center in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental.

Balkman, meanwhile, turned out to be the goat of the evening as the ball slipped out of his hands in what could have been a breakaway basket with just seconds to go in the contest, putting to naught SMB's comeback journey from as many as 22 points down.

Manuel topscored for Alaska with 23 points on 50 percent field goal shooting.

Jvee Casio finished with 18 markers, going 3-of-6 from the three-point area, while backcourt partner Chris Banchero missed a double-double after hauling 15 and nine assists. The Fil-Italian also had four rebounds and two steals.

Antonio Campbell and Calvin Abueva had 13 points each.

Balkman paced the Beermen with 32 points, 13 boards, three assists, and three steals. Big men Christian Standhardinger and Arwind Santos came off the bench and combined for 34 markers. Santos also added five blocks.

Marcio Lassiter compiled 20 points, three assists, and three steals.

Alaska never trailed in the match, going ahead, 72-50, courtesy of a Casio triple, midway of the third period.

However, San Miguel gallantly crawled back, even tying the count in several instances, the last one at 103-all.

The Aces share the top spot on the standings with Rain or Shine and TNT with four wins and a loss. They will go up against the GlobalPort Batang Pier two weeks from now.

The Beermen, are on the other end as they are still winless in three games. They would next face the Phoenix Fuelmasters on May 30.

The scores:

Alaska 105 - Manuel 23, Casio 18, Banchero 15, Campbell 13, Abueva 13, Racal 7, Thoss 4, Exciminiano 3, Teng 2, Pascual 0, Baclao 0.

San Miguel 103 - Balkman 32, Lassiter 20, Santos 12, Fajardo 7, Lanete 6, Cabagnot 4, Ross 0, Rosser 0, Heruela 0.

Quarters: 28-20, 57-43, 81-72, 105-103

Follow him on Twitter: @jpabcede