MANILA, Philippines – Alaska denied San Miguel a win in their four-team pocket tournament after hacking out a nail-biting 81-79 victory at the Upper Deck Gym in Pasig City on Friday, February 21.
Robbie Herndon proved he feels right at home with his new team with 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 steals as the Aces held on after the Beermen nearly stole the game that came down to one final shot.
San Miguel, which trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half, shaved its deficit to 79-81 in the last 10 seconds only to witness Alex Cabagnot miss the potential game-winning three-pointer.
A Vic Manuel turnover kept the Beermen afloat, but the Aces heaved a huge sigh of relief as Cabagnot muffed his triple from the top of the key just as time expired.
Rodney Brondial put up 14 points and 17 rebounds for Alaska, Manuel chipped in 12 points and 8 rebounds, while JVee Casio added another 12 points.
Barkley Ebona, drafted No. 4 overall by the Aces in the recent draft, made his presence felt in the win with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Alaska finished the tournament with a 2-1 record.
San Miguel, meanwhile, wrapped up its campaign winless at 0-3 as it missed the services of Terrence Romeo in the entire second half of its last game. (READ: Romeo hurts ankle in San Miguel-Alaska tuneup game)
Romeo had 10 points and 4 rebounds in the first half but was sidelined after hurting his ankle when he tripped on a workout equipment at the baseline.
Cabagnot paced the Beermen with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Mo Tautuaa had 12 points and 6 rebounds.
Alaska 81 – Herndon 19, Brondial 14, Manuel 12, Casio 12, Ebona 10, Ayaay 8, Ahanmisi 2, Teng 2, Andrada 2, Racal 0, Galliguez 0, DiGregorio 0.
San Miguel 79 – Cabagnot 22, Tautuaa 12, Romeo 10, Ross 8, Zamar 8, Gamalinda 7, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, Santos 4, Pessumal 0, Alolino 0, Mamaril 0, Comboy 0, De Guzman 0.
Quarters: 10-15, 33-37, 62-48, 81-79.
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.