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.
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.