MANILA, Philippines – Alaska defied the odds and gave TNT a stunning 108-72 beating to force a rubber match in their quarterfinals series in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, July 21.
Considered heavy underdogs against the twice-to-beat KaTropa, the Aces proved they are no pushovers as they kept their semifinals bid alive by handing their foes just their second loss in the entire conference.
Diamon Simpson continued to be a steady presence for Alaska, finishing with 15 points, 19 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 4 assists, as 5 locals also breached double figures in their obliteration of TNT.
Jeron Teng had 15 points and 11 rebounds, Simon Enciso and Chris Banchero chalked up 14 points apiece and conjoined for 8 assists, while Vic Manuel added 13 points and 6 rebounds in the win.
Also making his presence felt for the Aces was Carl Bryan Cruz, who had 11 points and 8 rebounds and managed to get under the skin of KaTropa import Terrence Jones by forcing him to commit flagrant foul penalty 1.
Best Import frontrunner Jones was limited 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks against 7 turnovers and did not play the final 12 minutes after he was whistled for a flagrant 1 on Cruz just as the 3rd quarter ended.
Jones pushed Cruz to the floor – an incident that showed how Alaska frustrated him defensively in the entire time he was playing.
But it was not just Jones, though, who was contained as TNT – which won its last 8 games and entered the playoffs with a league-best 10-1 record – scored 30 points less than its average in the elimination round.
Jayson Castro was the only other KaTropa player in twin digits with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.
The do-or-die game is slated at the same venue on Wednesday, July 24.
Alaska 108 - Teng 15, Simpson 15, Enciso 14, Banchero 14, Manuel 13, Cruz 11, Casio 8, Racal 7, Galliguez 5, Baclao 2, Exciminiano 2, Ayaay 2, Thoss 0, Pascual 0.
TNT 72 - Castro 23, Jones 19, Rosario 9, Taha 5, Reyes 4, Magat 4, A. Semerad 3, Heruela 2, Pogoy 2, Trollano 1, D. Semerad 0, Golla 0, Washington 0, Casiño 0.
Quarters: 27-18, 53-41, 89-60, 108-72.
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.