Alaska Aces stretched Thursday their winning streak to three games in the 2020 PBA Philippines Cup at the expense of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, who had a blazing start before this nail-biter match, 89-88 in favor of the Jeff Cariaso-coached team.
Vic Manuel finished with a game-high 18 points, including the six points he scored in the final two minutes, to secure the Aces another win in the PBA bubble. Manuel also had 6 rebounds.
“Hats off to the guys for being able to find a way to grind out a win. Guys like Vic… they’ll step in and hit big shots for us. But more than anything, there’s a lot of lessons when you have a game like tonight,” said Cariaso.
With under 40 seconds left on the clock, the Elasto Painters were down by as much as five. However, with a never-say-die attitude, Rey Nambatac drilled a three to make it a two-point game, 88-86. Then, after Manuel split his chances at the free-throw line, Beau Belga kept Rain or Shine’s hopes alive with a layup with 7.3 seconds remaining.
The game further intensified when Alaska, who were without a timeout in the waning moments, committed a crucial turnover that left the door open for Rain or Shine. However, Nambatac’s drive missed at the buzzer.
“I can’t express how happy I am only because we were able to pull it off. The timeouts, I think we have to be smarter. That’s on me. I wish I didn’t call that early one just to save us and have one just in case – always have an emergency one. Hands off to the guys to just be able to find a way to grind out a win,” said Cariaso.
Jeron Teng had 13 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, while Abu Tratter and Barkley Eboña chipped in with 10 points apiece in the victory that improved Alaska’s card to 3-2.
Meanwhile, in a losing effort, Sidney Onwubere top-scored Rain or Shine with 16 points. Javee Mocon had an all-around effort of 14 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Rain or Shine dropped to 3-1.
Alaska Vs Rain or Shine Box Score
Aces (89) – Manuel 18, Teng 13, Ebona 10, Tratter 10, Herndon 9, Brondial 7, DiGregorio 7, Casio 5, Ahanmmisi 5, Galliguez 3, Ayaay 2, Marcelino 0
Elasto Painters (88)– Onwubere 16, Mocon 14, Wong 12, Belga 10, Torres 10, Nambatac 7, Yap 5, Doliguez 3, Norwood 5, Doliguez 3, Rosales 2, Ponferada 2, Rivero 2, Tolentino 0
Quarters : 22-18,38-41,61-63,89-88