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Aces extend win run to six, thwart Hotshots on Manuel career-high

Another career night for Vic Manuel in Alaska's win over Magnolia. PBA Media Bureau
By Ricky Manliguis

QUEZON CITY— Why need Calvin Abueva and Jeron Teng when you have a Vic Manuel? 

Manuel fashioned out a career ballgame as the short-handed Alaska extended its streak with a nail-biting 103-99 win over Magnolia Hotshots in the nightcap of the Honda PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Toying defenders thrown at him, the 6-foot-4 Manuel scored a career-high 35 points, 17 coming in the fourth quarter, as the Aces fended off a gutsy stand by the Pambansang Manok en route to a 6-1 record and a guaranteed seat in the quarterfinals.

With Magnolia in control for most of the second half, Manuel flexed his muscles in the clutch, but none bigger than his fall-away shot off a foul from Rafi Reavis at the 2:35 mark for a 92-88 lead.  

The Hotshots trimmed the deficit to 93-94 on a Paul Lee triple from way downtown with 1:46 left. , but Manuel and Jvee Casio's back-to-back hits with 59.3 seconds left proved to be the finishing blows. 

The 35-point output eclipsed Manuel's old record of 29 he scored in the Aces’ 110-100 win over TNT KaTropa last May 13 in Antipolo.
Alaska also spoiled the debut of Magnolia's new import Justin Jackson, who had 21 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists in his debut. The former University of Cincinnati standout tough made just three of his 13 free throw attempts. 

“It's gotta be pretty impossible to talk to you guys without talking about Vic Manuel. I don't know what to say,” echoed Alaska coach Alex Compton on his prized ward, who shot an efficient 14-of-20 (70%) from the field with seven rebounds. 

“He went off, and I think Rafi is... I don't know if he's the premier post defender or if he's one of them, but I have incredible respect for Rafi Reavis' defense, and I think he's helped teams win championships in his whole career when he plays defense. So for Vic scoring the way he did against such a smart defender like Rafi is really amazing.” 

Antonio Campbell backstopped Manuel with 28 points and 15 rebounds. Sonny Thoss issued nine points while Jvee Casio scored all his eight points in the final quarter.

Paul Lee came off the bench to score 21 points as Magnolia dropped to a tie with idle Global Port at 3-4.
The scores:
Alaska 103 - Manuel 35, Campbell 28, Thoss 9, Casio 8, Banchero 7, Enciso 6, Racal 5, Baclao 4, Exciminiano 1, Pascual 0.
Magnolia 99 - Jackson 21, Lee 21, Melton 14, Reavis 9, Simon 9, Barroca 9, dela Rosa 9, Jalalon 4, Herndon 2, Brondial 1, Ramos 0, Pascual 0.
Quarterscores: 23-16, 46-39, 71-70, 103-99.
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