Alaska destroys Phoenix to seal twice-to-beat bonus

Delfin Dioquino
The Aces secure the number two spot while eliminating the Fuel Masters from playoff contention in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup

CONSISTENT FORCE. Vic Manuel scores at least 20 points in the last 10 games. Photo from PBA Images

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. 

The Scores: 

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


Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.