Khapri Alston proved to be what Columbian coach Johnedel Cardel wanted the import to be with a monster game and against the Dyip’s long-time nemesis at that.
Alston debuted with 38 points and 22 rebounds as Columbian held off Alaska 117-110 Friday at the start of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
CJ Perez, Glenn Khobuntin, Rashawn McCarthy and new acquisitions Juami Tiongson and Lervin Flores led those who ably lent support, but it was the wide-shouldered Alston who drew the highest praise from Cardel after lending the inside presence his team sorely needed.
“We have a good import. ‘Yun ang wala namin, a player who could go to the post, a passer, and a smart guy,” said Cardel. “Even though he is just 6-3, he plays like a 6-10.”
“Di lang happy,” added Cardel when asked if he was satisfied with Alston’s first official game, “haping-hapi kasi iyun kulang sa team namin, iyung low-post guy.”
Indeed, Alston stamped his dominance by going 12-of-19 off a variety of post moves and even went 14-of-17 from the stripes.
His caroms also gave Columbian a 65-48 advantage off the boards and Alaska didn’t help itself any by shooting 20-of-50 from the field in the second half.
Columbian 117 – Alston 38, Perez 28, Khobuntin 16, McCarthy 11, Tiongson 11, Camson 5, Flores 4, Calvo 4, Reyes 0, Celda 0, Gabayni 0, Cahilig 0.
Alaska 110 – Watts 40, Tratter 14, Manuel 14, Enciso 11, Ayaay 9, Thoss 6, Galliguez 6, Casio 4, Banchero 3, Baclao 2, Pascual 0.
Quarterscores: 28-22, 56-56, 93-81, 117-110.