The Alaska Aces will advance to the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals round after they escaped with the victory against the Meralco Bolts, 108-103.
Chris Banchero lifted Alaska in regulation as he sparked their comeback late in the fourth quarter.
With twenty seconds remaining in the final quarter, it seems that Meralco was on their way to face the TNT KaTropa in the second round of the second conference. Yet, Banchero had a different plan.
He made a three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining to put his team much closer, 94-95. Then Bolt’s guard Chris Newsome splits his free-throw, 96-94.
Then Banchero made most probably the most crucial basket of his career to tie-the ball-game at 96-all.
In the extra period, coach Alex Compton and his troops made sure that the victory goes to them as they limit Meralco to score seven points against their 12 markers.
Alaska’s “Mister Muscleman”, Vic Manuel was limited to only two points in the first half but went unstoppable in the second half.
Manuel finished the game with 23 points and had four rebounds. He was later named as the Best Player of the Game.
Delroy James powered Meralco with 34 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists. James helped the Bolts to make a comeback in the third quarter after they were down by 12-point at the end of the second quarter.
Alaska will battle the KaTropa on Sunday where they need to win twice to advance to the semi-finals round.
Chris Banchero Is Mr. Clutch
Alaska vs Meralco Box Score
Quarters: 26-28 | 55-43 | 68-66 | 96-96 | 108-103
Aces (108) – Manuel 23, Simpson 20, Banchero 15, Casio 14, Enciso 13, Teng 12, Thoss 5, Racal 2, Pascual 2, Baclao 2
Bolts (103) – James 34, Newsome 20, Almazan 14, Amer 8, Quinto 7, Pinto 6, Hodge 4, Faundo 4, De Ocampo 3, Jackson 3, Salva 0