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Alaska escapes late NorthPort scare, takes PBA Govs' Cup opener

Olu Ashaolu made an impression in his Alaska debut. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Alaska survived a late barrage from NorthPort and prevailed, 87-85, at the start of the PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Robbie Herndon helped save the day for the Aces after scoring on a mid-range jumper with 30.1 seconds left as the Aces won despite a late charge from new Batang Pier Arwind Santos.

Seemingly ahead by a comfortable 10-point margin, 79-69, with 5:41 left, Alaska found itself witnessing Santos' late show after he drained 12 straight points sparked by three straight triples that cut the lead down to two, 83-81, with exactly a 100 seconds remaining.

Herndon momentarily gave the team some breathing room after making a split from the free-throw line, but Greg Slaughter scored four consecutive points including a go-ahead tip-in with 39 seconds left that put NorthPort up, 85-84.

Herndon then drove to the basket and drilled the turnaround jump shot that put the Aces back ahead, 86-85.

Robert Bolick, with shot-clock winding down, opted for a long three-pointer that only hit the back iron, and Alaska was able to use up 10 seconds before Bolick fouled Jeron Teng.

Teng split his charities off the foul for the final tally even as Bolick tried a halfcourt heave that likewise rimmed out as time expired.

Olu Ashaolu put up 20 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, and three steals in his first game as an Ace.

Teng added 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, and one block.

Santos finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, one assist, three steals, and four blocks off the bench for the Batang Pier.

Cameron Forte and Greg Slaughter each chipped in 18 markers while finishing with a double-double each after grabbing 15 and 11 boards, respectively.

The Scores:

ALASKA 87 – Ashaolu 20, Teng 19, Herndon 13, Taha 8, Ahanmisi 7, Tratter 6, Tolomia 6, DiGregorio 5, Racal 3, Brondial 0

NORTHPORT 85 – Santos 23, Forte 18, Slaughter 18, Malonzo 10, Bolick 8, Rike 5, Taha 2, Doliguez 1, Elorde 0, Balanza 0, Grey 0, Ferrer 0

QUARTERS: 19-18, 41-39, 68-60, 87-85

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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