Just as the Magnolia Hotshots did last Wednesday to Kia, the Alaska Aces turned in a masterful second half performance to send the Picanto down with a 37-point blowout, 102-55, Sunday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces bagged their second win in a row and improved their card to 2-2, while the Picanto went down to 0-4, absorbing their 16th straight defeat, the worst losing skid since 1995 active.
“I don’t know what to say except for defense… I really appreciate the effort of the guys today defensively,” said Alaska head coach Alex Compton, as they limited Kia to just 32 percent shooting. “I think we got our teeth back on defense.”
All but two scored for Alaska in the win. Rookie Jeron Teng led with 23 points and nine rebounds. Carl Cruz had his best game after a long while with 16 markers and nine boards, while Chris Banchero scored 11 and had five dimes.
From a close 39-34 affair at the half in favor of Alaska, the Aces unloaded 35 points in the third quarter alone while keeping Picanto to just five points, leading to an embarrassing 75-39 lead heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.
“It was one of those nights where Kia missed some shots. They had some looks that just didn’t go down,” said Compton of their run. “Hindi ko alam kung 10 minutes or 12 minutes basta yung run sa third, five points lang sila.”
Kia never had a glimmer of hope afterwards, and Alaska kept pounding their helpless counterparts to preserve the advantage. The Aces’ lead ballooned to as much as 40, 86-46, after Jake Pascual’s bucket with 6:06 left to play.
Pascual finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and three steals for the Aces. Star forwards Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel also chipped in 10 markers each, with the former adding nine rebounds, a steal, and a block to his name.
Rashawn McCarthy finished with 16 points and four assists to lead Kia, who last tasted a win last May 21, 2017. Eric Camson backed him up with 15 markers and six caroms, while Ronald Tubid chipped in 13 points and seven boards.
For three games now, the Picanto has lost an average of 35.6 points.
Alaska will next face a tall order in the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel next Sunday, January 21, 6:45 PM at Ynares Center in Antipolo. Kia, meanwhile, will look to end their skid versus the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on January 20, Saturday, 4:30 PM at Cuneta Astrodome.
Alaska 102 — Teng 23, Cruz 16, Banchero 11, Abueva 10, Manuel 10, Pascual 10, Enciso 8, Galliguez 5, Thoss 5, Exciminiano 2, Potts 2, Casio 0, Racal 0.
KIA 65 — McCarthy 16, Camson 15, Tubid 13, Ababou 5, Caperal 4, Reyes 4, Cabrera 3, Celda 3, Yee 2, Galanza 0, Jamon 0, Paniamogan 0, Sara 0.
Quarterscores: 20-21, 39-34, 75-39, 102-65.