MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – "I thought today we brought a defensive effort that will give us a chance in just about any game."
It was the perfect way for coach Alex Compton to encapsulate what his Alaska Aces did differently in Game 2 of the best-of-7 semifinals of the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday, January 6 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off an uncharacteristic Game 1 loss, Alaska came to defend two days later and they shut down the prolific Globalport Batang Pier, 100-76, to even the series at 1-1.
The Aces, which led by double-digit margins since the first half, succeeded in shackling the Batang Pier's once free-flowing offense from Game 1.
"It was a concerted, phenomenal effort by our entire defense," said Compton, whose team's energy visibly improved in Game 2 after they allowed Globalport 107 points on Monday.
"It was very obvious we were much faster now. We were really slow in Game 1, it's like we had cement in our shoes."
Chris Banchero topscored for the Aces with 18 points on 8-of-13 field goals to go with 5 rebounds off the bench, while veteran RJ Jazul contributed 17 markers, 6 boards, and 3 assists.
Guard JVee Casio, who was aggressive from the get-go, had 13 points and 4 assists. Calvin Abueva registered a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds while center Sonny Thoss, who was recognized before the game for entering the 5,000 points club in Game 1, chipped in 10 markers and 5 boards.
The Aces pushed themselves defensively and came out with a renewed effort after a two-week lay-off by getting aggressive and sticking to their man. (READ: Alaska defense needs to be better for semis Game 2 – Compton)
Alaska limited the league's leading scorer Terrence Romeo to just 20 points after a 41-point career game two days ago, leaving his backcourt partner Stanley Pringle to lead the way with 22 points, two rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
The Aces, who entered the game keeping their opponents to 96 points per contest, degenerated the Batang Pier to just 32 points for the entire second half.
"I hope my guys don't get fat and happy with that and they understand the difficulty of winning in the PBA and the difficulty of being good is you have to do the difficult things consistently," Compton cautioned.
Joseph Yeo and Jay Washington added 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the heated match-up as both sides amassed 16 technical fouls, tying the record for most technicals in a game set by Alaska and Shell in the 1997 Governors' Cup.
A total of 13 technical fouls were called on players and officials from both Alaska and Globalport in one instance towards the end of the opening period, where Dondon Hontiveros, Abueva, Vic Manuel, Jay Washington and Anthony Semerad had a shoving match that nearly escalated to a bench-clearing brawl.
PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa personally tried to pacify players and take control of the situation, then oversaw the review of the footage together with referees.
Washingon eventually earned his second technical late in the third period and was ejected from the game.
Game 3 of this series is on Friday, January 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena. (SCHEDULE: 2016 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals)
Alaska (100): Banchero 18, Jazul 17, Casio 13, Abueva 11, Thoss 10, Baguio 8, Dela Rosa 7, Manuel 6, Exciminiano 4, Hontiveros 3, Baclao 2, Menk 1, Dela Cruz 0.
Globalport (76): Pringle 22, Romeo 20, Yeo 11, Washington 10, Semerad 5, Hayes 2, Maierhofer 2, Mamaril 2, Jensen 1, Uyloan 1, Isip 0, Kramer 0, Pena 0, Sumang 0.
Quarter scores: 18-18, 47-44, 75-60, 100-76.
#PBA: Alaska coach Alex Compton talks about their Game 2 win vs Globalport Posted by Jane Yvette Bracher on Wednesday, 6 January 2016