SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – Alaska formally entered the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals as it withstood a win-hungry NorthPort, 102-94, Friday at the SMART 5G-powered AUF Sports and Cultural Center.
Rodney Brondial played his best game so far this season, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the victory that hiked their card to 6-4 and put themselves in contention for a Top Four spot.
The Aces, who were coming off an 81-87 defeat in the hands of Barangay Ginebra last Tuesday, will look to better their position on Monday, Nov. 9, when they take on the streaking NLEX Road Warriors at 4:00 p.m.
“We’re happy with our progression throughout the conference. It’s been a tough 10 games and it’s going to be an even tougher game next Monday to end eliminations,” said head coach Jeff Cariaso.
Abu Tratter had 16 points as well, with six rebounds. Jeron Teng had 14 points, eight boards, and six dimes, as Robbie Herndon made 12. Vic Manuel and Maverick Ahanmisi each chipped in 11 markers.
“What I’m really proud of and happy with the guys is just the fact that each and every day, just their willingness to just stick to the basics and continue trusting each other. That was huge for us,” Cariaso said.
The Aces appeared to cruise towards the victory when it unloaded a 15-5 run to turn a narrow four-point lead to a favorable 90-76 advantage with 4:50 remaining in the game, but the Batang Pier had other plans in mind.
Behind main man Christian Standhardinger and Garvo Lanete, NorthPort cut the deficit to just four points twice, the last at 94-98 with 33.2 seconds on the clock, Unfortunately, it couldn’t come any closer.
Ahanmisi made his free throws with 20.6 seconds to go, and then Brondial sank his own shots from the charity stripe calmly with only 9.4 ticks left to play, shutting the door close on their foes once and for all.
“They all played well, they played together, they played the right way. We talked a lot about playing the right way the last couple of days and I’m really proud of the fact that they did that today,” said Cariaso.
The loss wasted the career-high outing of Standhardinger, who finished with 39 points. Coincidentally, the Fil-German forward set his previous career-high of 37 also versus the Aces on Nov. 3 last year, where they also lost 99-106.
The Batang Pier absorbed their third straight loss and dropped to 1-7, with their playoff hopes becoming bleaker. They have a chance to keep afloat versus a surging Magnolia on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 4:00 p.m.
Alaska (102) — Tratter 16, Brondial 16, Teng 14, Herndon 13, Manuel 11, Ahanmisi 11, Casio 6, Ebona 6, DiGregorio 6, Galliguez 3, Publico 0, Ayaay 0.
NorthPort (94) — Standhardinger 39, Lanete 11, Nabong 11, Taha 10, Elore 9, Ferrer 8, Subido 3, Cruz 3, Revilla 0, Guinto 0, Manganti 0.
Quarterscores: 27-18; 45-40; 69-65; 102-94