Alaska knocks Meralco out, sets up quarterfinals clash with top seed TNT

Chris Banchero delivered the clutch hits to send the game into overtime and then Vic Manuel and Jeron Teng finished off the job as Alaska survived a stubborn Meralco side to advance to the quarterfinal round of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup via 108-103 victory, Friday night at the MOA Arena.

With the Aces down by 4, 91-95, after Chris Newsome cashed in on two freebies with only 20 ticks left on the game clock, Banchero drained a triple off a second attempt to cut the deficit to a solitary point. Newsome split his free throws in the next possession to give the Bolts a 2-point lead with time down to 6 seconds. Banchero then buried a turnaround jumper over the outstretched arms of Cliff Hodge to force the extra period.

After Hodge gave the Bolts a 2-point edge, 102-100, with 2:45 left in overtime, Manuel racked up 4 straight points to give the Aces the advantage. A split from the stripe by Meralco import Delroy James was followed by a Teng putback which pegged the score at 106-103 for the Aces.

A relieved Alaska head coach Alex Compton admitted during the post-game interview that the feeling was similar to having won a championship match.

“Honestly, after that game, the heart the guys showed, Meralco played great, and the plays that they made, it does feel like a championship win,” said Compton.

“It’s not. I understand that, but just the emotion, struggle through five games, and the things we are trying to work through, just a nice feeling,” he added.

Manuel paced the Aces with 23 points while Diamon Simpon added 20 points and 23 boards. Banchero finished with 15 markers and 9 assists.

James led Meralco’s losing cause with 34 points while Chris Newsome and Raymond Almazan contributed 20 and 15 points, respectively.

The scores:

Alaska 108 – Manuel 23, Simpson 20, Banchero 15, Casio 14, Enciso 13, Teng 12, Thoss 5, Racal 2, Pascual 2, Baclao 2.

Meralco 103 – James 34, Newsome 20, Almazan 14, Amer 8, Quinto 7, Pinto 6, Hodge 4, Faundo 4, De Ocampo 3, Jackson 3, Salva 0.

Quarterscores: 26-28, 55-43, 68-66, 96-96, 108-103.

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