Alaska bounces back, clips NLEX
MANILA, Philippines—Alaska rebounded from a bad loss with a thrilling win over NLEX, 96-95, in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Saturday night at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Aces, who redeemed themselves from a 108-88 beating from defending champion Purefoods last Wednesday, made a big defensive stop in the last play with Road Warriors import Al Thornton not able to get a good look and put up a decent shot.
“We had to win it with a stop,” said Alaska head coach Alex Compton.
But Compton showed concern with the Aces’ defense in their first two games
“But 95 points is a lot for us. I don’t think we can win this way defensively.”
The Road Warriors trailed by double-digits three separate times throughout the course of the game but they kept coming back behind Thornton.
A 3-pointer by the former NBA veteran Thornton brought NLEX back to within one, 93-92, with 1:42 left.
Calvin Abueva, who was Thornton’s primary defender, extended Alaska’s lead to three, 95-92, with 1:22 remaining. Asi Taulava cleaned up a miss by Thornton to make it a one-point game again, 95-94, with 1:08 to go.
Taulava had a chance to tie it at 96 but he split his free throws with 46 ticks remaining and Alaska held on with a stop.
Thornton finished with 39 points but it wasn’t enough as the Road Warriors fell to 0-2 after losing to Rain or Shine last Wednesday. KG Canaleta added 16.
DJ Covington played a better game and wound up with 24 points while Vic Manuel had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Aces, who overcame the absence of their two key players in Sonny Thoss and JVee Casio.
Thoss and Casio missed their second straight game due to injuries.