ACES back in the hunt

February 06, 2019

BEFORE Wednesday’s game, Alaska Milk coach Alex Compton called the match against Columbian Dyip as “a big test for his players.”

After  all,  the Aces  are playing shorthanded  with four key mainstays  -- Vic Manuel, Jayvee  Casio, Simon  Enciso and Kevin Racal  --  all  sidelined   by  injuries.

But  judging from  last  night’s game,  the  Aces  surely  passed  the test with  flying colors.

Carl Bryan Cruz scored 20 points, including four  three-point shots, as Alaska  routed Columbian, 94-72, to barge  into  the  win column in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Jake Pascual  finished with a double  double of 13 points and 13,  Chris  Exciminiano added 12 points  and  Chris Banchero  had 10 points for the Aces, who bounced  back from a disappointing 72-85 loss  to Rain or Shine  in their debut last Sunday.

“I'm really proud of our defense,” said Compton after the game.

“It clearly won us the game. We  had two days to prepare… we only dressed 10  players, and all 10 played, and I thought they all played hard,” added Compton.

“I really appreciate my guys' efforts. Pretty much the whole game, we were energetic and all over the place, and we covered the ground.”

Columbian dropped to 2-4 win-loss.

Rookie CJ  Perez led the Dyip with 15 points and five  rebounds, followed by Jack Corpuz with 12 points and six rebounds.    Actually, Alaska and Columbian battled it out early.

A late outburst, however, enabled the Aces to tak ea 20-13 lead after the first quarter.

The Aces greeted the second period with a triple from Exciminano  to give them thei first double-digit advantage, 23-13.

The Dyip tried to keep pace behind the hot hands of Perez and JP Calvo and CJ Perez, but that was not enough to overtake the Aces.

The Dyip managed to come within 36-41 on Andreas Cahilig’s three-pointer, but the Aces were countered with their own scoring run anchored on Cruz and Sonny Thoss.

Actually, the Aces held the Dyip to 36 percent shooting while converting 43 percent  of their own attempts.

They also won the game despite giving up 37 free throws.

The scores:

Alaska  (94) -- Cruz 20, Pascual 13, Exciminiano 12, Banchero 10, Potts 9, Teng 8, Ayaay 8, Baclao 6, Thoss 4, Galliguez 4.

Columbian  (72) --  Perez 15, Corpuz 12, Khobuntin 8, Cabrera 6, Reyes 5, Escoto 5, Gabriel 5, Cahilig 4, Camson 4, Calvo 4, McCarthy 2, Tabi 2, Agovida 0.

Quarterscores: 20-13, 46-36, 68-50, 94-72.