|Vic Manuel stepped up for the Aces as they began life without Chris Banchero with a win. PBA Media Group|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA—Alaska proved to the PBA fans that it can thrive without Chris Banchero.
On Sunday night, the Aces pipped the NorthPort Batang Pier, 106-99, in their PBA Governors' Cup match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Banchero did not show up at all for Alaska amidst a trade with Magnolia for Robbie Herndon and Rodney Brondial.
However, it was not a problem for the Aces as they showed that the absence of Robert Bolick has a bigger impact as the Batang Pier could not sustain a relatively fine start and were held to 19 points in the second quarter and conceded 30 points for the Aces in the third.
NorthPort still put up a fight as Chris Standhardinger came alive down the stretch to cut Alaska's lead to just three, 102-99 with 31 seconds left.
But a crucial foul by Garvo Lanete sent Vic Manuel to the free throw line for the two dagger charities that sealed the Aces' win.
Manuel and Franko House each made 23 points for Alaska, which moved up to 3-6, keeping its slim playoff hopes alive.
Both Manuel and House actually got double-doubles as they got 10 and 11 rebounds respectively.
Abu Tratter came close to his own double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds alongside two assists.
Simon Enciso, who took over the starting point guard in Banchero's absence, also flirted with a double-double, tallying eight points and eight assists with four rebounds.
Standhardinger finished with 37 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, and one steal for NorthPort, which fell to 3-5.
Mike Qualls added 35 points, 15 rebounds, one assist, three steals, and four blocks.
Alaska 106 - House 23, Manuel 23, Tratter 17, Teng 13, Enciso 8, Casio 7, Racal 6, Thoss 4, Ahanmisi 4, Pascual 1, Ayaay 0.
NorthPort 99 - Standhardinger 37, Qualls 35, Anthony 8, Lanete 8, Casio 7, King 5, Ferrer 3, Taha 2, Elorde 1, Cruz 0, Escoto 0.
Quarterscores: 28-29, 53-48, 83-76, 106-99.
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