The Alaska Aces are still perfect with replacement import Shane Edwards on hand.
The Red-and-White, through Edwards and Vic Manuel, turned a close first half into an eventual blowout in a 105-89 win over the Phoenix Petroleum Accelerators Friday evening at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The Alaska Aces were down 43-48 in the half due to the team’s lethargic perimeter defense and dismal ball movement. After a pep talk during the break, the Aces unleashed a furious 10-0 run to start the quarter via Edwards and Sonny Thoss.
The rally extended to a 20-5 rally to give Alaska a double-digit lead, 63-52. Emman Monfort and RR Garcia turned it up late in the quarter to cut the lead to just six, 72-66, before closing the quarter down 76-68.
“Obviously, our defense was a lot better in the second half. I really thought our defensive intensity was fantastic,” Alaska head coach Alex Compton said.
Turnovers plagued the Fuel Masters in the final quarter of the game as Alaska maintained a 84-72 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Suddenly, the overpowering Alaska offense unleashed a final rally that put the game out of reach. A triple by RJ Jazul and a three-point play by Vic Manuel extended the Alaska lead to a game-high 20 points, 96-76. Phoenix simply ran out of gas at the end, with Alaska winning, 105-89.
Compton credited the fast-paced play the team displayed in the second half, led by Edwards and Manuel. Alaska’s import notched a double-double with 33 points and 16 rebounds. Manuel, who came off the bench, complemented the effort with 26 points on an 11/16 shooting clip.
The Alaska Aces (3-1) next face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Wednesday, March 9 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. On the other hand, the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters (1-3) look to snap out of their funk in the first game of that day against the Mahindra Enforcers.
Alaska (105) – Edwards 33, Manuel 26, Thoss 12, Abueva 8, Banchero 7, Jazul 6, Baguio 4, Casio 3, Dela Cruz 2,Exciminiano 2, Racal 2
Phoenix (89) – Pinkney 27, Garcia 15, Intal 14, Wilson 10, Monfort 8, Baracael 6, Pennisi 3, Lanete 2, Brondial 2, Miranda 2.
Quarterscores: 19-18, 43-48, 76-68, 105-89.