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Alaska downs Barako, keeps semifinals hopes alive



The Alaska Aces survived a gallant challenge from Barako Bull Energy, 108-100 Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to keep their PBA Philippine Cup semi-finals hopes alive.

Alaska overcame a slow start and leaned on Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel — who both came off the bench — for the win.

The Aces closed the elimination round with a 9-2 record. The Aces are now assured of at least a playoff for one of two semi-finals spots.

A loss by Rain or Shine gives Alaska an outright passage to the semis but a win by the Elasto Painters would mean the Aces shall face San Miguel in a playoff spot for the no. 2 spot.

Abueva had 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 assists while Manuel added 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting. The Alaska bench outscored Barako’s reserves, 77-34.

A string of three triples gave Barako Bull its first double-digit advantage before a Willie Wilson short stab made it 28-16 for the Energy.

Alaska then inserted Abueva, who immediately caused havoc. The Aces went on a 16-2 run with a Dondon Hontiveros three and Abueva slam giving the Aces a 32-30 lead early in the second quarter.

Abueva also helped key in an 11-1 run to open the third quarter as Alaska increased the cushion up to 61-49.

The Aces limited the Energy to only a single field goal in the first five minutes of the third frame, en route to outscoring the latter, 32-22 in the period.

Chico Lanete anchored a 7-0 run by Barako to open the fourth quarter as the Energy brought the Aces lead down to only 82-77.

Free throws by Willie Wilson made it only a two-point deficit for Barako, 94-92 with over five minutes left but Abueva and Manuel steadied the ship for the Aces towards the end.

Alaska’s transition game proved to be the difference as the team had 17 fastbreak points. The Alaska defense also forced 17 Barako turnovers which became 18 extra points for the Aces.

Wilson led Barako Bull with 23 points and 14 rebounds while five other scored in double-digits for the 5-6 Energy.

The Scores:
Alaska (108) – Abueva 22, Manuel 21, Baguio 11, Thoss 11, Jazul 11, Casio 9, Hontiveros 8, Banchero 7, Baclao 4, Dela Cruz 4, Dela Rosa 0, Exciminiano 0, Menk 0.
Barako Bull (100) – Wilson 23, Intal 15, Lanete 14, Urbiztondo 13, Monfort 12, Fortuna 10, Brondial 7, Pennisi 3, Miranda 3, Baracael 0, Forrester 0.
Quarterscores: 23-30, 50-48, 82-70, 108-100.