Manuel regains hot hand as Alaska destroys San Miguel in Game 3

Delfin Dioquino
Manuel regains hot hand as Alaska destroys San Miguel in Game 3
The Aces avoid a semifinals sweep to trim the best-of-5 series deficit to 1-2

ANTIPOLO, Philippines – Vic Manuel displayed his lethal form and Alaska gave San Miguel a 125-104 beating in Game 3 to avoid a sweep in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semis at the Ynares Center here on Friday, July 20.

Manuel, kept under 20 points in the past two contests after 11 straight games of breaching the 20-point mark, delivered 24 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals as the Aces trimmed their best-of-5 series deficit to 1-2. 

The Aces, who squandered a 16-point lead in their Game 2 loss, looked like they would suffer the same fate but arrested their poor play to stop the Beermen from pulling off another come-from-behind win. 

San Miguel staged a 17-6 run to trim a 14-point deficit to just 3 points, 74-77, before Alaska regained its bearing with its own 17-3 spurt – powered by Manuel’s 8 points – to head into the final frame with a 94-77 lead.

Alaska continued its inspired play in the payoff period and buried San Miguel by as much as 23 points, 106-83, thanks to a Carl Bryan Cruz triple and a Simon Enciso layup off a steal. 

The Beermen would narrow the gap to 13 points, 113-100, but Manuel drilled in back-to-back shots to restore order and secure the triumph for the Aces. 

“Today just kind of felt a little bit like our day. We made a bunch of shots and we had a bunch of bounces go our way. It just felt like one of those days. I hope we have many of those days,” said Alaska head coach Alex Compton. 

Diamon Simpson backstopped Manuel with 21 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks despite being hobbled by an ankle injury while JVee Casio and Enciso conjoined for 25 points and 13 assists in the win. 

While Manuel and Simpson were their usual selves, it was the bench players who proved the difference for Alaska to avoid crashing out. 

Noy Baclao and Ping Exciminiano finished with 9 markers apiece while seldom-used Abel Galliguez and Jake Pascual churned out 7 points each in the win. 

“I felt like today was a total team effort. Guys like Abel Galliguez came off the bench and gave us great energy. Jake Pascual hasn’t played this series, comes in and gave us great energy. I was really impressed,” Compton added. 

Renaldo Balkman paced the Beermen with 28 points and 11 rebounds but coughed up 7 turnovers and was sidelined for the majority of the 4th quarter with San Miguel trailing big. 

June Mar Fajardo added 18 points and 15 rebounds while Christian Standhardinger chalked up 10 points and 6 rebounds in the loss.

Game 4 is on Sunday, July 22, at the Araneta Coliseum. 

The Scores:

Alaska (125): Manuel 24, Simpson 21, Casio 15, Enciso 10, Baclao 9, Racal 8, Pascual 7, Galliguez 7, Teng 6, Cruz 5, Thoss 4

San Miguel (104): Balkman 28, Fajardo 18, Standhardinger 10, Ross 9, Lassiter 9, Cabagnot 8, Heruela 8, Lanete 6, Santos 3 

Quarter scores: 27-25, 64-55, 94-77, 125-104

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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.