Aces chalk up 5th win in a row, humble Batang Pier

Chris Banchero provided back-up with 19 points in Alaska's win on Saturday. Franchesca Nicole Collantes/ Dugout Philippines

By Ricky Manliguis

QUEZON CITY—Alaska rode on a second half assault to trounce Global Port, 109-103, for its fifth straight win in Saturday’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup action at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Behind yet another steady performance by Vic manuel plus the inspired Chris Banchero, the Aces battled back from a 15-point deficit to boost its record to 5-1 and a share of the lead in the mid-season conference with Rain or Shine, who are playing the Magnolia Hotshots as of this writing.

After trailing for most of the match, the Aces went down to work in the second half, as Manuel instigated a 16-7 third-quarter salvo that turned a 69-76 deficit into an 85-83 lead heading into the final canto.

The 6-foot-4 slotman continued his brilliant touch, and his back-to-back corner jumpers gave Alaska a 105-93 advantage with 2:48 left that virtually sealed the deal. 

Global Port had one last fightback, pulling to within 103-107 on Sean Anthony's triple 49.5 seconds remaining but still fell short in the end. 

Manuel finished with 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting while grabbing two rebounds off the bench. Chris Banchero added 19 with seven boards and five assists despite playing with a grieving heart following the death of his best friend yesterday. 

Antonio Campbell churned out a quiet 18 points and 18 rebounds while JVee Casio and Kevin Racal had 12 and 10 respectively. 

“I love the grit and I expected that we needed it this game, Globalport is one of the grittiest teams in the league, the guys in that team are physical and they play hard,” said winning coach Alex Compton.

The Aces played minus the services of star Calvin Abueva, who has not practiced with  the team for three days due to "personal reasons" according to Compton. 

"He (Abueva) didn’t show up to practice since the All-Star break. We’ve been reaching out to him. We’re not sure where he is. We know people that are with him so he’s safe. Calvin has been going through some personal issues and I will leave it at that," he said.

It was a sorry loss for the Batang Pier, who once has the largest lead at 54-39 midway into the second quarter to fall to a 3-4 card. Malcolm White and Stanley Pringle had 27 and 26 points in that order. 

The scores:

Alaska 109 -  Manuel 22, Banchero 19, Campbell 18, Casio 12, Racal 10, Thoss 8, Teng 8, Enciso 6, Exciminiano 3, Magat 3.

GlobalPort 103 - White 27, Pringle 26, Anthony 16, Nabong 12, Javelona 7, Grey 6, Tautuaa 5, Elorde 4, Sargent 0, Teng 0, AraƱa 0.

Quarterscores: 20-29; 50-59; 85-83; 109-103.

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