The Alaska Aces are still the top seed in the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup after recovering from a poor showing in the first quarter to steal the win away from a Globalport Batang Pier squad that played without their two top scoring locals, 103-101, Saturday evening at the Araneta Coliseum.
Just as Globalport were without top guns Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo, due to injuries for the game, the Aces played without two key players, Cyrus Baguio and Jvee Casio.
Powered by new import Shawn Taggart and bigman Paolo Taha, Globalport took control early on in the first, building an 11-4 advantage in just the first three minutes of play. Taggart scored 10 points in the first twelve minutes of his PBA career, picking up the scoring reins even as the Batang Pier struggled to adjust to the absence of their two top gunners. With Alaska’s own import Shane Edward struggling to sink his easy looks, the Aces could only watch as the Batang Pier seamlessly scored on every attack. At the end of the period, Globalport had almost doubled Alaska’s output, 30-16.
Taggart’s ruthless scoring kept the lead at double-digits for most of the early second period, but the Aces’ gunners finally found the spark they needed to start their comeback. Baskets from a reignited Edwards, Vic Manuel, Chris Exciminiano, and RJ Jazul heralded the beginning of the Alaska rally, midway through the quarter, that brought the lead down to four, 44-48, with just a minute left. Crucial to the Aces sudden rally ,was the Globalport locals slowing down after the previous quarter’s salvo. Despite Taggart’s continued heroics, the Batang Pier led by a mere three points at halftime, 51-48. The sterling new arrival had 22 points in 21 minutes of action in the first half.
Calvin Abueva spearheaded the Alaska charge as the Aces embarked on another surge to nip at the Batang Pier’s lead. However, a Globalport squad that had found a way to get the ball to its most composed shooters managed to cling to the steady lead. At the halfway mark, the Batang Pier led almost by double digits once more, 69-60. Taggart got enough help from Keith Jensen and Jonathan Uyloan to keep Globalport one step ahead, even as the Aces continued their barrage from all corners of their end of the court. At the end of the third, Globalport held a narrow 78-74 lead.
The Aces’ rally came to fruition early in the fourth, when baskets from Chris Exciminiano and Chris Banchero put Alaska up, 83-81. But Jonathan Uyloan had no trouble answering back for the Batang Pier, knocking down back-to-back triples on the other end to take back the lead. That signalled the start of a trade of salvos that would go on for the next several possessions.
As the Globalport scorers began to grow cold, it was the Aces who managed to come out of the exchange of firepower on top, 99-96, with just two minutes left on the clock. Following a string of botched opportunities for the Batang Pier, a basket from Chris Banchero made it a five-point game, 101-96, with just around a minute left to play. Globalport’s Taha was able to trim the lead on the other end, but the Batang Pier faced disappointment with a string of missed baskets. Alaska, meanwhile, were able to create more possessions after a series of offensive boards by Calvin Abueva. A breakaway triple from Jeric Fortuna in the dying seconds was not enough to salvage the game for Globalport.
Abueva was named Best Player of the Game, with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists to his name. Shane Edwards had 21 points and 11 boards, while Vic Manuel chipped in 12 off the bench.
Shawn Taggart had 36 points and 16 rebounds in an impressive debut for Globalport. Jonathan Uyloan led the Batang Pier locals, with 12 points built on 3-out-of-6 shooting from the arc. Globalport dominated the rebounding game despite the loss, 66-46.
Alaska, as of this writing, hold the top spot at 5-1. They have won five straight games since dropping their first assignment. Globalport, meanwhile, slip to 2-5.
Alaska (103) – Abueva 29, Edwards 21, Manuel 12, Exciminiano 10, Jazul 8, Banchero 6, Thoss 6, Dela Rosa 5, Casio 2, Eman 2, Menk 2, Dela Cruz 0, Hontiveros 0, Racal 0.
Globalport (101) – Taggart 36, Jensen 13, Uyloan 12, Fortuna 11, Taha 11, Yeo 7, Washington 5, Mamaril 4, Semerad 2, Kramer 0, Maierhofer 0.
Quarterscores: 16-30, 48-51, 74-78, 103-101.