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Purefoods dominates Alaska for 2-0 record

Purefoods avenged the 20-point loss to Alaska in the Philippine Cup with a 20-point win earlier at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, 108-88. Led by Alex Mallari, Purefoods dominated the match from start to finish, as Alaska was without JVee Casio and Sonny Thoss, two pivotal players during their Philippine Cup championship run.

Mallari led his team with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 three-point baskets. Marqus Blakely and James Yap contributed 17 points each for the team as well. Alaska was led by DJ Covington’s 19 points, Chris Banchero’s 16 points, and Calvin Abueva’s 12 points.

A strong start paved the way for Purefoods early on as the team was able to take an early double-digit lead at 12-2. Both teams started trading baskets, but an Allein Maliksi triple bumped the lead to 13, 21-8. Banchero’s floater was answered by a Mark Barroca and-one play, pushing the Hot Shots’ lead to 14, 24-10. Abueva’s attack to the basket put him at the free throw line, and while he made both free throws, Mick Pennisi answered with another three-point shot. With nine seconds to go in the first quarter, Abueva was fouled on a three-point attempt. He made two out of three, ending the quarter 27-14 for Purefoods.

Abueva continued scoring for Alaska and made the first basket of the second quarter, but five consecutive points for Maliksi gave Purefoods a 32-16 lead. The teams once again traded baskets, but a Blakely bucket on the inside, Yap jumper, and a Mallari free throw gave Purefoods a 20-point advantage, 45-25. With time running out in the quarter, Alaska’s Vic Manuel managed to score inside for the last basket of the half, but unfortunately for him, his team was still down by 22 points, 57-35.

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Alaska attempted to start a run numerous times during the third quarter, but Purefoods was ready for them at every turn. Midway through the quarter, an Abueva jumper and a Dondon Hontiveros triple trimmed the deficit to 15, 51-66. That was as close as they ever got, as Purefoods went on a run of their own, going on a 17-6 rally for an 83-57 lead. Alaska then went on a 6-0 run to bring the deficit down to 20, but a Marc Pingris and-one play brought the gap back to 23 to end the period.

With one quarter left to play, Alaska’s import Covington attempted to carry the team on his shoulders, scoring nine of the first 11 points of his team. While Alaska was being powered by a single player, Purefoods got numerous contributions from Rafi Reavis and Justin Melton. For every Covington basket, either Reavis or Melton answered with a basket of his own. Alaska was unable to catch up and eventually fell to Purefoods, 108-88.

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