Vic Manuel and Chris Banchero delivered the telling blows for Alaska just when Magnolia came dangerously close as the Aces booked the first semis ticket in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup via 89-78 win, Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces duo scored the team’s final 7 points to turn a precarious 4-point lead into a more comfortable 11-point margin with the game clock down to 1:06.
The Hotshots were held scoreless in the final 3:29 of the game with Ian Sangalang missing all his 3 attempts.
The win shoved Alaska into the semis and will await for the winner of the San Miguel vs TNT series.
The loss broke the Hotshots’ streak of 4 straight Final Four appearances, all under coach Chito Victolero.
Manuel, the leading contender for the Best Player of the Conference, topped the scoring parade for his team anew with 22 points, his 11th straight 20-point performance.
Chris Banchero added 14 points while Diamon Simpson, who’s playing just his second game, had a double-double performance of 13 points and 15 boards.
Wayne Chism led the Hotshots with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Alaska 89 – Manuel 22, Banchero 14, Simpson 13, Thoss 11, Racal 10, Exciminiano 7, Enciso 4, Cruz 3, Teng 2, Casio 2, Baclao 1.
Magnolia 78 – Chism 20, Sangalang 14, Barroca 9, Lee 8, Jalalon 8, Simon 6, Ramos 6, Dela Rosa 5, Brondial 2, Melton 0, Reavis 0, Herndon 0.
Quarterscores: 26-21, 46-43, 78-62, 89-78.