Alaska climbs to third spot, denies Rain or Shine of twice-to-beat
Alaska ground it out and frustrated Rain or Shine, 99-95, to reach the third spot in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces improved to 7-4, half-a-game behind no.2 Magnolia, after snapping their two-game losing streak and denying the Elasto Painters, who skidded to 5-4, a chance for a twice-to-beat advantage come the quarterfinals.
Alaska’s victory also assured defending champion San Miguel of the twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
Vic Manuel came through in the clutch for the Aces, who played without Calvin Abueva and Carl Bryan Cruz, as his jumper gave Alaska a 96-95 lead with 39 seconds left in the game.
JVee Casio and Kevin Racal then iced the game from the free throw line.
Alaska head coach Alex Compton was in awe of how his team delivered under duress especially when Maverick Ahanmisi and James Yap combined their efforts to bring Rain or Shine back in the game.
“What a game, awesome game,” said Compton. “Maverick Ahanmisi gave me about 800 new gray hairs there in the fourth quarter. I don’t know how many points he had but he hit three threes and a three-point play. He really helped bring them back and it was huge. James had been playing great.”
“I just really appreciate the efforts of our guys to weather the storm and keep coming.”
Alaska held an 83-75 lead at the 8:03 mark of the fourth before Ahanmisi displayed his marksmanship.
Ahanmisi had 15 points in Rain or Shine’s blistering 20-9 run in the fourth that Yap capped off with a jumper to give the Elasto Painters a 95-94 edge with 1:30 remaining.
Casio came up with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists to lead Alaska while rookie Jeron Teng and Marlon Magat both had 14 points.
Manuel and Racala also filled up the scoring column for the Aces with 14 and 13 points, respectively, while Sonny Thoss and Simon Enciso had 10 points apiece.
Ahanmisi led the Elasto Painters with 23 points, five rebounds, five assists, and five steals while Yap added 17 points.
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