Notwithstanding a third quarter scare that Ginebra put up, the Alaska Aces gets its second win of the new tournament as they defeated the Kings, 108-99 held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Romeo Travis was flawless at the start when he scored the game’s first seven points, while making all of his opening three shots. After Ginebra missed another pair of attempts, JVee Casio drained in a triple to make it an early double-digit game at 10-0 in favor of the Aces. Ginebra’s reinforcement, Orlando Johnson struggled in the game’s opening moments as he had three turnovers early and muffed his first three shots that led to a 14-point advantage for Alaska halfway through the first.
The lead kept growing for Alaska as Dondon Hontiveros made a triple to make it a 23-7 game. The Aces eventually ended the first up by 17 against Ginebra and their brand new coach, Frankie Lim, who was calling the shots for the first time.
Vic Manuel and Calvin Abueva cruised to inside the paint baskets, piercing through the defense of the Kings, who played without their two giants, Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar. Former Ginebra forward Eric Menk pushed the lead to 21 at 45-24 with a triple from top of the key. After some Ginebra stops, Johnson began to find his groove offensively, and jumpstarted the Kings’ run late in the second quarter to make it a close encounter, while also waking up their silent crowd. Johnson led the 21-9 charge before halftime as he scored 10 points during the run.
In the third, Ginebra carried on with the momentum they gathered in the first half to make it a two-point game at 60-58, capped by a 3-on-1 break finished off by Mark Caguioa. Ginebra’s transition game was also on point using their quick offense to claw their way back into the game. However, Travis anchored an 8-2 response to reinstall an eight-point separation at 68-60. The frantic paced third period ended still in favor of Alaska despite the furious rally set up by the Kings.
A quick 4-0 start for Alaska in the third pushed the lead up to double digits once again. Ginebra started to blank their next shots from the perimeter that hurt their chances to comeback once again from the deficit. The exchange of baskets came in favor of the Aces via a JVee Casio underneath stab made it a 96-85 affair with less than six minutes to go in the game. Alaska somewhat struggled to make their shots from the free throw area, but Ginebra had a hard time clawing back in the game as they blanked their potential lead-slicing baskets.
Ginebra had more fast break points, 22-6 and committed less turnovers, 20-23. But Alaska made better shots, 51% compared to Ginebra’s 44% and had more rebounds, 47-34.
Alaska (108) – Travis 34, Hontiveros 11, Jazul 11, Abueva 9, Banchero 8, Menk 7,Manuel 6, Baguio 5, Casio 5, Exciminiano 5, Thoss 4, Dela Rosa 4, Dela Cruz 0
Ginebra (99) – Johnson 50, Caguioa 14, Mercado 8, Helterbrand 8, Tungalag 8, Tenorio 3, Baracael 3, Marcelo 2, Brondial 2, Pena 1
Quarters: 29-12, 54-45, 81-75, 108-99