MANILA, Philippines —Not even JVee Casio’s absence could slow Alaska down.
The Aces, getting a boost from their rookies Calvin Abueva and Raffy Reyes, who started in place of Casio, kept the top spot following their 93-85 win over GlobalPort Sunday night.
“Credit Raffy, he’s a pro,” said Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo. “This is the time to step up for each other. I’m proud of the way he came out. He didn’t play like a rookie, both of them Calvin and Raffy.”
Abueva had 15 points and seven rebounds while Reyes, a second round pick, only had eight points but half of his points came at a crucial time.
Batang Pier closed in, 72-76, after falling behind by double-digits majority of the game including a 16-point hole in the second quarter.
Usually, Alaska would turn to Casio to get them out of harm’s way but this time, it was Reyes and Abueva, who delivered.
The former University of the East guard stopped the bleeding for the Aces to make it, 78-72, before Abueva provided the finishing touches- highlighted by a three-point play- that stretched their lead back to 10, 85-75.
“Maganda pinakita niya (Reyes) this game and actually last game pa lang nakita ko na maganda nilaro niya,” said Casio, who also said that his left knee is feeling better.