MANILA, Philippines – Alaska hit 3 birds with one stone following its 114-91 triumph over Phoenix at the Cuneta Astrodome on Friday, July 6.
The Aces secured the final twice-to-beat advantage heading into the quarterfinals, eliminated the Fuel Masters from playoff contention and determined the last 8 teams standing that will vie for the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
For the 10th straight game, Vic Manuel breached the 20-point mark with 28 points on top of 9 rebounds and two steals to lead other 4 players in double figures as the Aces ended a two-game dry spell and improved to 8-3 for the No. 2 ranking.
Diamon Simpson, who returned for Alaska as a replacement for import Antonio Campbell, submitted solid numbers of 18 points, 19 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks while Chris Banchero chipped in 14 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds.
Alaska simply had its way over the Fuel Masters from the get-go as it swung a slim 13-10 lead to a 17-point advantage after the first quarter, 34-17.
Phoenix made runs here and there but the Aces proved to be a much better team, seeing their lead swell to as large as 27 points, 112-85, off a Simon Enciso triple with 2:41 minutes left in the game.
Jeron Teng, who missed a month of action after sustaining multiple stab wounds in a brawl last June, suited up and helped Alaska with 7 points, two rebounds and two assists.
Eugene Phelps paced the Fuel Masters, who slipped to 4-7, with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks.
Alaska (114): Manuel 28, Simpson 18, Banchero 14, Exciminiano 12, Enciso 10, Thoss 7, Teng, 7, Casio 4, Baclao 4, Racal 3, R. Pascual 3, J. Pascual, Galliguez 1, Cruz 0
Phoenix (91): Phelps 23, Wright 13, Perkins 10, Revilla 10, Jazul 8, Intal 6, Eriobu 6, Guevarra 4, Dehesa 4, Wilson 3, Mendoza 3, Chua 1, Kramer 0, Gamboa 0
Quarter scores: 34-17, 53-42, 80-63, 114-91