PBA Governors' Cup

Alaska spoils Arwind Santos’ NorthPort debut in Governors’ Cup opener

Delfin Dioquino
Alaska spoils Arwind Santos’ NorthPort debut in Governors’ Cup opener

STEADY. Olu Ashaolu powers Alaska with a double-double in his first game back in the PBA.

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Arwind Santos impresses across the board in his first game for NorthPort, but Alaska escapes with a two-point win to kick off the PBA Governors' Cup

Alaska played spoiler in Arwind Santos’ keenly awaited debut for NorthPort by hacking out a gritty 87-85 win in the opening game of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Wednesday, December 8.

Santos notched a game-high 23 points on top of 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 3 steals, but the Aces held off an inspired comeback from the Batang Pier thanks to a clutch Robbie Herndon bucket.

Herndon knocked down a turnaround jumper to give Alaska an 86-85 edge with 30 seconds left as NorthPort failed to regain the upper hand, with Robert Bolick missing a potential game-winning half-court heave at the buzzer.

Import Olu Ashaolu led the way for the Aces with 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 steals, Jeron Teng had 19 points 4 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Herndon delivered 13 points and 3 steals.

Maverick Ahanmisi made his presence felt in the win with 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists

If not for the loss, Santos would have been the man of the match as he almost singlehandedly dragged the Batang Pier out of a double-digit hole after dropping 14 points in the fourth quarter alone.

Alaska led 79-69 off an Ashaolu triple before Santos caught fire by scoring all 12 points – highlighted by three straight three-pointers – in a 12-4 run that cut the NorthPort deficit to 81-83.

Greg Slaughter then put the Batang Pier on top, 85-84, with a pair of free throws and a putback off a Santos miss with 40 seconds remaining.

Santos’ first win with NorthPort following his shock trade from San Miguel, though, would have to wait as Alaska pulled off back-to-back defensive stops on Bolick, who was forced to take a shot from the Ynares Sports Arena logo with time running out.

Import Cameron Forte netted 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Batang Pier, while Slaughter churned out 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

The Scores

Alaska 87 – Ashaolu 20, Teng 19, Herndon 13, Taha 8, Ahanmisi 7, Tratter 6, Tolomia 6, Digregorio 5, Racal 3, Brondial 0. 

NorthPort 85 – Santos 23, Slaughter 18, Forte 18, Malonzo 10, Bolick 8, Rike 5, Taha 2, Doliguez 1, Balanza 0, Elorde 0, Grey 0, Ferrer 0.

Quarters: 19-18, 41-39, 68-60, 87-85. 

– Rappler.com

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.