MANILA, Philippines – Alaska shrugged off the absence of star guard Chris Banchero and hacked out a 106-99 win over NorthPort in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, November 3.
Franko House and Vic Manuel showed the way as the Aces won back-to-back games for the first time and kept their playoff bid alive at 3-6 even without Banchero, who has been placed on the trading block.
Banchero played in all 8 games for Alaska in the conference, but was not in the venue with his trade to Magnolia for Rodney Brondial and Robbie Herndon still pending approval from commissioner Willie Marcial.
House finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Manuel churned out 23 points and 10 rebounds, including two foul shots in the final 20 seconds that helped the Aces hold on to the victory.
The Batang Pier trailed by as much as 14 points, but managed to shave their deficit to as close as 3 points, 99-102, off a Christian Standhardinger turnaround floater with 31 seconds remaining.
However, Manuel and Jeron Teng drained all of their 4 free throws in the dying seconds to preserve the triumph for Alaska.
Rookie Abu Tratter continued to make his mark for the Aces with 17 points and 9 rebounds, Teng had 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Simon Enciso chipped in 8 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds.
It was a nip-and-tuck battle at halftime with NorthPort still within striking distance down 48-53 before Alaska pulled away and tasted their biggest lead of the match at 68-54 off a Maverick Ahanmisi free throw.
But Standhardinger – who finished with 37 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 assists – did not crumble in the face of the double-digit deficit and poured out 14 points in the final quarter to give the Batang Pier a fighting chance.
The Aces' lead, though, was too large to overcome as they snapped their foes' two-game winning streak.
Michael Qualls had 35 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 3 steals for NorthPort, which dropped to 3-5, as no other Batang Pier player breached double figures.
Alaska 106 - Manuel 23, House 23, Tratter 17, Teng 13, Enciso 8, Casio 7, Racal 6, Thoss 4, Ahanmisi 4, Pascual 1, Ayaay 0.
NorthPort 99 - Standhardinger 37, Qualls 35, Anthony 8, King 5, Ferrer 3, Taha 2, Elorde 1, Cruz 0, Escoto 0.
Quarters: 28-29, 53-48, 83-76, 106-99.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.