Too hot to handle.
Streaking Alaska proved to be just like that after weathering Blackwater’s late uprising to complete an 88-84 escape act for its fourth win in a row in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday night.
Chris Banchero and Jeron Teng teamed up late in the end game to rescue the Aces from near collapse with clutch heroics which shed cold water on a red-hot Elite rally.
Rookie Jeron Teng didn’t shy out from the biggest moment of his professional basketball career thus far, sinking a go-head triple with more than one minute left for a huge 86-80 Alaska which proved to be enough in the win.
Prior to that though, Banchero stopped the bleeding with two pressure-packed free throws in the 1:49 mark to give Alaska a slight cushion, 83-80 after Mike DiGregorio puctuated Elite’s near comeback with booming trey in the last two minutes.
With the win, the surging Alaska remained to be unbeaten this year, improving to 4-2 win-loss slate midway through the All Filipino conference.
Banchero spearheaded Alaska’s charge with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals while Vic Manuel stepped up big time for the absence of front court partner Calvin Abueva with 16 markers and 6 boards.
Kevin Racal also provided key contributions with 14 more points while Teng had 10 points for the Aces.
Meanwhile, the Elite continued on their free fall nearing the halfway of the elimination round after a promising start.
After a 2-1 beginning, Blackwater now tasted its third loss in a row to fall deep down the cellar at 2-4 mark, knotting with NLEX at the 11th place.
Poy Erram’s all around output of 14 markers, 21 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals and 5 blocks went for naught in Blackwater’s near comeback win.
DiGregorio and Mac Belo also chipped in 15 markers apiece in the loss.
Alaska tiffs with Globalport on February 4 at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo while Blackwater goes up against Magnolia on February 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Alaska (88): Banchero 16, Manuel 16, Racal 14, Teng 10, Casio 7, Enciso 6, Cruz 5, Baclao 4, Thoss 3, Pascual 3, Magat 2, Exciminiano 2, Potts 0
Blackwater (84): Digregorio 15, Belo 15, Erram 14, Sumang 10, Maliksi 10, Jose 8, Cortez 5, Sena 5, Cruz 2, Marcelo 0, Javier 0, Pinto 0
Quarter scores: 20-16, 43-35, 67-61, 88-84.