With no player logging in more than 30 minutes during the match, the Alaska Aces started their 2015 Governor’s Cup stint with a blowout win over the Blackwater Elites, 106-80 held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday evening.
Despite the inevitable rust due to the conference layoff, a hot start offensively was displayed by both teams during the first quarter that also had multiple lead changes and deadlocks in the opening minutes. Alaska’s reinforcement Romeo Travis knocked down two good-looking mid range jumpers to counter Blackwater’s offense that relied heavily on their front court. JP Erram had four easy points in the game’s first six minutes to give the Elites a slight 12-10 edge in the match. RJ Jazul drained in a triple to bust the Elite’s zone defense and cap a huge scoring run late in the first that gave the Aces a 23-15 edge. Alaska continued to pour on the defensive side as they settled for full-court pressure defense in the last half of the opening quarter that helped them outscore Blackwater by eight, 16-5 in the last minutes.
With mostly the second unit fielded in the second quarter, the Aces continued their stellar 90-ft defense that led to two early stops on Blackwaters’ end. Chris Banchero and Eric Menk jumpstarted a 7-2 spree to extend Alaska’s lead to a baker’s dozen, 32-19. Blackwater rushed their offense on the ensuing plays to avoid being trapped by Alaska’s swarming defense but only few attempts dropped. On the other side, the Aces’ transition offense was helpful enough to extend their lead at 41-27. Blackwater managed to pull to within eight but Alaska unleashed a 9-0 run including a Cyrus Baguio triple to make it a 50-33 lead with 3:04 left in the first half.
At halftime, Alaska led by 14 in a one-sided affair after 24 minute of action. Despite Marcus Douthit’s 16 markers to lead Blackwater, 10 players from the Aces already entered the scoring column at the break as balanced-offense propelled Alaska to the early lead.
The Aces continued to pour on the scoring as they scored 12 points in the first 100 seconds of the third quarter to extend their lead to 26 capped by three free throws by Baguio. The pressure defense sucked the offensive air out of the Elites as Blackwater had a hard time finding their rhythm and getting good looks in the basket. Two more free throws by Travis made it a 73-43 game with still six minutes to play in the third.
Player rotation came freely for Alaska as whoever was put on in the playing five contributed both in the offensive and defensive end. The unfortunate Blackwater squad kept missing perimeter jumpers including wide-open ones that led to easy transition baskets on Alaska’s end. The Aces scored 30 points in the third compared to Blackwater’s silent 17 that somewhat already decided the match heading into the final canto.
Douthit continued to try and help Blackwater to overcome the insurmountable deficit with their good start in the fourth period. However, it was only good enough to a point of trading baskets with the game-long precise shooting by the Aces who shot over 55% during the fourth.
Alaska committed less turnovers, 14-21 while also dominating the offensive battle in the paint, 56-30. In addition, Alaska scored more on points off turnovers, 26-11.
Blackwater looks to bounce back against Globalport in their second game of the conference while Alaska looks for a 2-0 start against Ginebra. Both games will be played on Friday, May 8 still at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska (106) – Travis 18, Casio 13, Banchero 13, Baguio 12, Abueva 9, Jazul 7, Exciminiano 6, Manuel 6, Dela Rosa 6, Menk 6, Thoss 4, Baclao 2, Hontiveros 2, Eman 2, Dela Cruz 0
Blackwater (80) – Douthit 28, Gamalinda 10, Salvacion 9, Cervantes 7, Bulawan 5, Erram 4, Heruela 4, Timberlake 4, Reyes 4, Acuna 3, Faundo 2, Laure 0, Celis 0
Quarterscores: 26-17, 55-41, 85-58, 106-80