Alaska kept finding a way to win even in the absence of star player Calvin Abueva and rookie Jeron Teng after turning back Magnolia Pambansang Manok in closely-fought game Sunday night, 103-99, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Vic Manuel and JVee Casio combined to score the 15 of the Aces’ final 17 points to hack out their sixth straight win and a formal berth in the eighth-team quarterfinals.
The Aces improved to a 6-1 record as they advanced in the playoffs of an import-laden tournament for the first time in two seasons. They also won their second straight game without Abueva, suspended indefinitely by the team, and Teng on board.
Manuel scored 35 big points, a new career-high which surpassed the 29 markers he poured against TnT Katropa in Antipolo City last May 13, including 17 in the pivotal period, while Casio had all of his eight points in the fourth.
The Hotshots lost their third straight game and fell to a 3-4 record for a tie at seventh to eighth places with Globalport.
Alaska 103 – Manuel 35, Campbell 28, Thoss 9, Casio 8, Banchero 7, Enciso 6, Racal 5, Baclao 4, Exciminiano 1, Pascual R. 0.
Magnolia 99 – Lee 21, Jackson 21, Melton 14, Reavis 9, Simon 9, Barroca 9, Dela Rosa 9, Jalalon 4, Herndon 2, Brondial 1, Pascual 0, Ramos 0.
Quarters: 23-16, 46-39, 71-70, 103-99.