Aces climb to top
Alex Compton used the word special several times during the customary winning coach’s interview on Sunday night.
He had every reason to do so because his Aces are in for bigger things come the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs.
Import Mike Harris was his usual devastating self and the Aces got another battering ram in Chris Banchero as Alaska carved out a 116-109 victory over Blackwater at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The result meant a twice-to-beat privilege for the Aces in the quarterfinals of the season-closing conference.
Improving to 7-2 and tying for the lead with idle Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia after getting 38 points and 19 rebounds from Harris and 28 points from Banchero, the Aces will get the first of two chances to sew up a top four spot against NLEX come Friday at Ynares Center in Antipolo.
But you won’t hear Compton talk disrespectfully of their last foes, including NorthPort on Sunday.
“If we can get one of those two,” Compton said when asked what it would take to progress in the upper half of the eight-team field. “But NLEX always causes us problems and Stanley (Pringle) is playing like an import.”
Harris was a devastating force and outplayed counterpart Henry Walker, who had two crucial blunders in the stretch that doomed the Elite to a 6-3 card, tied with Phoenix Petroleum for fourth and fifth spots.
JV Casio and Vic Manuel were the others in twin digits for the Aces, combining for another 26, even as Walker paced the Elite with 29.
In the first game, Meralco peeled away from Rain or Shine halfway through the fourth quarter to win 91-82 in the battle between two sides trying to stay alive for a playoff berth.
MERALCO 91—Durham 19, Tolomia 17, Hodge 14, Newsome 12, Caram 11, Hugnatan 10, Salva 4, Amer 2, Jamito 2, Ballesteros 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 82—Torres 16, Watson 14,Nambatac 13, Daquioag 10, Ponferada 7, Ahanmisi 7, Yap 7, Norwood 6, Borboran 2.
Quarters: 19-19, 44-43, 65-65, 91-82
ALASKA 116—Harris 38, Banchero 28, Casio 14, Manuel 12, Racal 7, Teng 6, Baclao 4, Thoss 4, Enciso 3, Exciminiano 0.
BLACKWATER 109—Walker 29, Digregorio 20, Erram 18, Pinto 13, Maliksi 10, Zamar 10, Al-Hussaini 5, Belo 4, Sena 0, Sumang 0, Jose 0.
Quarters: 26-29, 57-45, 87-82, 116-109
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