Aces gun down Road Warriors | Inquirer Sports

Aces gun down Road Warriors

Alaska books last quarterfinal slot with emphatic KO win over NLEX to advance opposite No. 1 Phoenix
/ 05:43 AM April 06, 2019

Alaska coach Alex Compton rhapsodized about having been given a chance to even compete for a spot in the playoffs, and said he looked to honor the game when they played NLEX.

The Aces did just that, dominating the Road Warriors, 88-80, to complete the PBA Philippine Cup’s quarterfinal cast Friday night at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

“I think the guys battled [well],” Compton said. “I am so proud of the guys’ effort. All you ask is a chance, we had a chance, we took advantage of it, and now we have one more chance.”

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Alaska held NLEX to just eight points in the second period and to a total of 25 for the first half, basically winning it there as the Aces advanced as the eighth seed and will play No. 1 Phoenix Pulse in the quarterfinals.

Sonny Thoss finished with 21 points and five rebounds in one of his worthiest games of late.

“Our defense was fantastic in the first half. Obviously we’re fortunate to get them after playing Magnolia last Wednesday, so we had fresher legs,” Compton noted.

The Aces hurdled their first KO game of the conference and will enter two more in order to make the Final Four. They would have to beat the Fuel Masters two straight times to advance.

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The quarterfinals start Saturday with San Miguel Beer clashing with TNT KaTropa at 4:30 p.m. and Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia slugging it out at 6:45 at Mall of Asia Arena.

Both series are best-of-three.

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“It’s a steeper, higher mountain,” said Compton of the task ahead as he faces his former deputy, Louie Alas, who has done a marvelous job at Phoenix.

“Sonny’s been awesome this conference. He’s invigorated. He’s turned back the clock this conference,” he said of his old reliable. “I think when his legs are fresh and playing strong like that, he’s a tough matchup for any big man in the league.”

Simon Enciso and Carl Bryan Cruz pumped in 16 points each as Alaska avenged a 70-91 loss in their only elimination round clash.

“It has been a tough conference for the both of us. I think NLEX is better than the conference they’ve had. But sometimes the cards are dealt in a certain way,” Compton said.

The scores:

Alaska 88—Thoss 21, Enciso 16, Cruz 16, Casio 13, Banchero 4, Baclao 4, Ayaay 4, Racal 3, Exciminiano 3, Teng 2, Potts 2, Pascual 0.

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NLEX 80—Ighalo 16, Galanza 14, Quinahan 13, Erram 10, Paniamogan 8, Magat 7, Rios 5, Baguio 3, Paredes 2, Tiongson 2, Taulava 0, Soyud 0, Tallo 0, Lao 0.

Quarters: 23-17, 44-25, 73-50, 88-80

TAGS: Alaska Aces, Chris Banchero, Kenneth Ighalo, NLEX Road Warriors, PBA

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