MANILA, Philippines – As far as season debuts go, the Alaska Aces currently look like the most dominant team in the 41st season of the Philippine Basketball Association.
Leaning on the continuity and familiarity they established from last year, the Aces dominated on both sides of the floor and easily dispatched another title contender in the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters, 114-98, on Friday, October 23, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces were furious on defense in the first quarter and their chemistry on offense was on display as they raced off to a 30-18 lead after 12 minutes of play. Coach Alex Compton’s guys didn’t look back the rest of the way, cruising to an easy first win.
“Seriously, and I mean this sincerely, that’s because I’m blessed with a tremendous coaching staff,” Compton said in the post-game press conference, “and I think Fred [Uytengsu] (Alaska owner) knows that, and so while we committed to the national team wholeheartedly, I don’t think there was any feeling that we were going to fall apart because I was not there.”
Vic Manuel finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds in a dominant display against Talk ’N Text big men rookies Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario, while national team sparkplug Calvin Abueva was up to his usual tricks: hustling and providing energy on his way to 15 points and 5 boards.
Sonny Thoss played 5 years younger with 17 points and 7 boards, while JVee Casio and Chris Banchero recorded 17 and 14 points, respectively.
“The guys played great, they played [with] high energy,” said Compton, who admitted he did not expect a result as one-sided as Friday’s game.
“Obviously we made some shots, and I thought it was really a contribution from all around… we had a lot of guys in double-figures and I thought there was good ball movement.”
The Aces shot 52% from the field and 50% from downtown. They scored 60 points in the paint, and received 70 points from their bench.
Alaska also got the job done on the other end, where they limited Talk ’N Text’s supposed vaunted offense to 39% shooting. Ranidel de Ocampo and Jayson Castro were stupendous with 26 and 19 points, respectively, but Tautuaa and Rosario, the top two picks in the 2015 PBA Draft, went a combined 6 points on 3-of-12 shooting.
“You’ll be writing a lot of articles about Mo and Troy,” Compton said to the media after the game, insinuating that the duo will get better.
The Tropang Texters went ahead 6-0 in the opening moments of the contest, but after the Aces took the lead, they played catch-up the rest of the way.
Alaska will aim to go 2-0 when they face the Blackwater Elite on Friday, October 30.
The Tropang Texters will look to even their record on Saturday, October 31, against the Mahindra Enforcers.
Alaska (114): Manuel 22, Casio 17, Thoss 17, Abueva 15, Banchero 14, Baguio 8, Baclao 6, Hontiveros 6, Jazul 4, Exciminiano 3, Dela Rosa 2, Dela Cruz 0
Talk ’N Text (98): De Ocampo 26, Castro 19, Fonacier 15, Reyes 9, Ganuelas-Rosser 7, Carey 6, Reyes 5, Rosario 4, Aban 3, Miranda 2, Tautuaa 2, Rodriguez 0
Quarter scores: 30-18, 62-46, 89-73, 114-98 – Rappler.com
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