PBA: Alaska gets back on track with big win over San Mig Coffee
MANILA, Philippines - The Alaska Aces rebounded from the thrashing they received in their previous assignment by thoroughly outplaying the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in this encounter, 93-84.
Import Henry Walker registered his highest-scoring game yet, hitting 50% of his field goals, including 5 triples, on his way to 32 points. After being on the receiving end of critics saying he wasn’t nearly as aggressive as the Aces needed him to be, the West Virginia native took over in this match. Walker was active on both ends, too, grabbing 13 rebounds, handing out 6 assists, and getting 2 steals.
He had a lot of help, however, as three other Aces scored in double-digits. The burly tandem of Vic Manuel and Gabby Espinas, in fact, played solidly for coach Alex Compton. They combined to shoot 11/15 from the floor and finish with a total of 25 markers. Cyrus Baguio, for his part, also stepped up with 13 points, 4 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block.
It was clear this was a different Alaska quintet from the one that lost to Rain or Shine a couple of days ago, and coach Compton took notice.
“The guys just played with the kind of intensity and drive that makes me proud coaching them. They showed their heart. I just challenged them and asked them who they are. They went out and showed me exactly who they are,” said the first time PBA head coach.
This gives the Aces their third win against four losses and keeps alive the possibility of their clinching a top four berth heading to the next round.
Fil-foreigners Joe Devance and Alex Mallari led the fight for the Mixers, who dropped to 4-2 in the team standings. Devance scored 14 points on 6/13 FG shooting, while Mallari recorded 13 markers. Import Marqus Blakely struggled offensively, missing 8 of his 12 field goals to finish with only 11 points, his lowest output since scoring just 10 in SMC’s first game this conference.
Alaska 93 – Walker 32, Manuel 14, Baguio 13, Espinas 11, Thoss 9, Abueva 6, Casio 5, Dela Cruz 2, Jazul 1, Reyes 0, Hontiveros 0.
San Mig Coffee 84 – Devance 14, Mallari 13, Blakely 11, Simon 10, Maliksi 9, Reavis 9, Sangalang 7, Yap 6, Melton 4, Pingris 1, Barroca 0.
Quarter Scores: 17-19, 39-37, 71-58, 93-84