Manuel fuels Aces win
Not even the presence of Renaldo Balkman could apply the breaks on San Miguel Beer’s puzzling nosedive.
Vic Manuel knocked down the game-winning floater at the buzzer as the Alaska Aces pipped the Beermen for a 105-103 victory in a PBA Commissioner’s Cup Petron Saturday Special at Lamberto Macias Sports and Cultural Center in Dumaguete City.
The Aces, who ironically overpowered the massive San Miguel frontline in the paint to forge a three-way tie with Rain or Shine and TNT KaTropa at the top (4-1), kept San Miguel, the all-Filipino champs, winless in the tournament.
Squeezing in between Christian Standhardinger and Arwind Santos after Chris Banchero’s feed, Manuel flipped up the shot that trickled in as time expired and pegged the final count.
Manuel then bounced off the court with a big smile and flexed his biceps as the entire Aces bench stormed the floor in jubilation.
Though San Miguel plummeted to their third straight defeat, Balkman gave the Beermen reason to hope as he finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds. He also tied the match at 103 but was forced into a turnover by Alaska’s Antonio Campbell to set up Manuel’s final shot.
Meanwhile, Raymond Almazan hopes to play a key role as Rain or Shine takes on GlobalPort at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.
“I should always be ready whenever coach puts me on the floor,” Almazan said in Filipino after the Elasto Painters forged a 123-119 overtime conquest of the Beermen.
Almazan will again join forces with the brawny Reggie Johnson in their frontline battle with GlobalPort’s Malcolm White and Mo Tautuaa.
In the other game, Barangay Ginebra (1-2) battles Phoenix (2-2).
Greg Slaughter and Charles Garcia were dominant in a 104-91 victory over the slumping Blackwater Elite but Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone believes the two are still far from top form.