Alaska clinches playoffs spot, beats struggling NorthPort
MANILA, Philippines—Alaska notched a spot in the playoffs with a close 102-94 win over a desperate NorthPort squad in the PBA Philippine Cup Friday at Angeles University Foundation.
The Aces improved to a 6-4 record and joined TNT, Barangay Ginebra, and Phoenix as the first four teams to secure a place in the quarterfinals.
Holding a slim 69-65 lead at the end of the third, the Aces had to buckle down in the fourth with a 15-4 run including eight points from Rodney Brondial.
“Brondial was awesome today, the good thing about Rodney is he’s super reliable whether he comes in for 10 minutes or we ask him to play 35 minutes,” said Alaska head coach Jeffrey Cariaso.
“When he’s there he makes a positive impact for us, he’s very unselfish that’s why we’re lucky to have him.”
It was Alaska’s consistent defense throughout the game, though, that put the clamps on the Batang Pier.
NorthPort had a field day from deep hitting 17 three-pointers in its 112-100 loss ti Ginebra in its previous game, but the Aces quickly put a stop to that torrid shooting limiting the Batang Pier to a cold 6-of-32 outing.
“We knew that there bigs, [Kevin] Ferrer I consider him a big three, can shoot and you have to pay attention to that,” said Cariaso. “What’s nice is when you go to the conference many teams have stretch fours so we practiced for that so this is not entirely new.”
Brondial finished with a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Aces while Abu Tratter pitched in 16 points and six rebounds with Jeron Teng added 14 points, eight boards, and six assists.
Christian Standhardinger put the 1-7 Batang Pier on his back with 39 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, three steals.
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