Alaska survives Blackwater scare for 2nd straight win
MANILA, Philippines – Alaska wasted a double-digit lead against Blackwater but got things done in the endgame en route to a 103-101 win in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, February 13.
Five players breached double figures as the Aces rallied in the final two minutes to bag their second straight win for a 2-1 card and deal the Elite their fourth straight loss for a woeful 1-6 record.
Chris Banchero was in his element all night, putting up 11 points, a career-high 16 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals and burying the jumper that gave Alaska a 101-100 lead with a minute left.
Sonny Thoss had his breakout game of the conference of 16 points and 5 boards and hit a jumpshot from the top of the key with 36 seconds remaining that preserved the win for the Aces.
Still without starters Vic Manuel, Simon Enciso, JVee Casio and Kevin Racal, Alaska received a big boost from Jeron Teng and Carl Bryan Cruz, who each had team-highs of 18 points.
The Elite, who erased a deficit as large as 13 points, were primed to return to the winning track after taking a 97-94 lead behind Allein Maliksi's hot hands.
However, the Aces answered with a Ping Exciminiano layup and a Cruz triple to gain a 99-97 advantage.
Maliksi returned the favor with a three-pointer of his own for a 100-99 Blackwater lead with 1:18 minutes left but his side was limited to a single point in the final minute.
Exciminiano came off the bench and finished with 14 points and 9 boards rookie MJ Ayaay and Jake Pascual chipped in 9 and 8 points, respectively, in the win.
Maliksi chalked up a game-high 25 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists while Roi Sumang and Mike Digregorio had 18 and 14 markers, respectively, in the losing cause.
Alaska 103 – Cruz 18, Teng 18, Thoss 16, Exciminiano 14, Banchero 11, Ayaay 9, Pascual 8, Galliguez 7, Potts 2, Baclao 0.
Blackwater 101 – Maliksi 25, Sumang 18, Digregorio 14, Jose 9, Tratter 7, Belo 7, Sena 6, Cortez 6, Desiderio 4, Alolino 3, Eriobu 2, Javier 0, Banal 0.
Quarters: 29-28, 49-48, 75-72, 103-101.