Vic Manuel converted on two key plays down the stretch as Alaska outlasted San Miguel in the final game of the Phoenix Super Basketball Tourney, 81-79, Friday afternoon at the Upper Deck Sports Center in Pasig.
After Arwind Santos drained two free throws to cut the Aces’ lead to a manageable 4 points, 77-73, with the game clock at 1:48, Manuel delivered from close range to give his team more breathing room.
Now down by 6, the Beermen rattled off 5 straight points courtesy of a Santos layup and a Chris Ross triple to trim Alaska’s advantage to just a solitary point, 79-78, going into the final 20 seconds of the match.
With the game on the line, Manuel broke free from his defenders and scored from close range to give the Aces a three-point lead, 81-78, with time down to 17 ticks.
Alex Cabagnot split his free throws off a Kevin Racal foul and then missed the potential game-winning trey after Manuel turned the ball over during the Aces’ last possession.
“I was telling the team that I wish all our practice games are like these cause this is where you learn the most and it forces you to be more clear and be able to execute lalo na defensively,” said Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso shortly after the game.
Robbie Hernon topscored for the Wilfred Uytengsu-owned squad with 19 points while Rodney Brondial had 14 markers and a game-high 17 boards. Manuel finished with 12 points apiece while Jvee Casio and rookie Kevin Ebona added 12 and 10 markers, respectively.
Cabagnot paced the Beermen, who lost all three matches, with 22 points while Mo Tauatuaa chipped in 12.
Terrence Romeo hurt his right ankle during the closing seconds of the 2nd quarter after landing on the pedal of a stationary bike that was located just a few feet from the baseline and never returned. He was able to contribute 10 points.
Alaska Aces 81 – Herndon 19, Brondial 14, Manuel 12, Casio 12, Ebona 10, Ayaay 8, Ahanmisi 2, Teng 2, Andrada 2, Racal 0, Galliguez 0, DiGregorio 0.
San Miguel Beermen 79 – Cabagnot 22, Tautuaa 12, Romeo 10, Ross 8, Zamar 8, Gamalinda 7, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, Santos 4, Pessumal 0, Alolino 0, Mamaril 0, Comboy 0, De Guzman 0.
Quarterscores: 10-15, 33-37, 62-48, 81-79.