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Alaska silences Meralco in fourth quarter for sixth win



Using a strong 22-10 fourth quarter, the Alaska Aces cruised in late for a 89-75 victory over the Meralco Bolts held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday afternoon.

Perimeter shooting was falling early for Alaska as they built a 8-0 edge including three jumpers courtesy by Romeo Travis and Dondon Hontiveros. Meanwhile, Meralco had a hard time converting their layups as they missed their first seven attempts from the floor, together with three early turnovers in the first six minutes of action. After Travis made it a double-digit game, Cliff Hodge stops the first quarter drought by the Bolts to provide his team’s opening basket.

The Aces’ defense were on point as they were able to limit Meralco’s offensive production for the first part of the first quarter but Meralco was able to slice the lead to four, 14-10 with Gary David’s entry to the match. The Bolts also showed their trapping defense that somewhat slowed down the Aces’ offense. Alaska scored seven points in the last three minutes of the period capped by a triple by RJ Jazul while also limiting Meralco to 12 points after the first quarter.

After a shaky first frame, Meralco started to get some baskets going in the second quarter as they managed to put up an exchange of field goals against Alaska. After Chris Banchero scored to erect tie the largest lead for his squad in the first half at 27-18, the Bolts unleashed a 10-1 counter cemented by two free throws by Andre Emmett. The Aces struggled during the stretch with two turnovers and also missing open shots from the field. However, as the starters were fielded back into the match, Alaska pushed its lead to 40-31 in the next four minutes of action. By the half, the Aces led by seven, 42-35.

The third quarter was the best period in terms of scoring for the Meralco Bolts as they ended up scoring 30 markers. Despite trailing by 10 at one point, 59-49 due to a jumper by Travis, the Bolts unleashed a 16-8 response to end the quarter. Notwithstanding not being able to pour on consecutive baskets, Meralco was able to drain the necessary free throws of the period to make the ballgame tightly-contested.

The Aces started the last quarter with a couple of stops but failed to capitalize on it. Meanwhile, Emmett started to gather momentum as he scored the first five points of the Bolts including an and-one play to trim the lead down to a solitary point. Looking to halt the Meralco’s momentum, Dondon Hontiveros buries a run-breaking trifecta to reinstall a five-point lead. The Aces bolstered their rally after forcing a turnover the other and and converting it into points in their favor.

Unfortunately for the Bolts, they entered the penalty situation with 5:17 left to play that added woes to their comeback hopes. Jvee Casio failed to complete a three-point play off a fast break attack but made it an 83-73 game in favor of the Aces. Six more points for Alaska pounced on the Bolts as the latter were limited to only two points in the last five minutes of the game.

The Aces improved to a 6-2 record and are now winners of two straight matches while Meralco drops to a 4-4 slate.

Travis tallied 24 points on 14 shots, grabbed 18 rebounds, four steals and two blocks in a productive 36-minute playing time. Emmett ended up scoring 28 points on an inefficient 7-of-24 clip but also had four steals. Hodge added 12 points and eight boards for Meralco.

The Scores:

Alaska (89) – Travis 24, Casio 11, Banchero 10, Hontiveros 8, Abueva 8, Thoss 6, Manuel 6, Jazul 6, Dela Rosa 4, Exciminiano 4, Menk 2, Dela Cruz 0

Meralco (75) – Emmett 28, Hodge 12, Ando 11, David 10, Nabong 7, Anthony 5, Ildefonso 2, Dillinger 0, Atkins 0, Cortez 0, Hugnatan 0

Quarters: 21-12, 42-35, 67-65, 89-75