With Alaska on the brink of doom, Chris Banchero and Vic Manuel came through, saving the Aces from an early vacation and setting up a playoff showdown with top seed TNT KaTrop at the MOA Arena Friday night.
Banchero nailed huge bailout shots to force overtime play then Manuel was among those who took over as the Aces squeezed out a 108-103 victory to complete the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Eight cast.
The Aces, however, will have only a day to prepare for the quarters, and they will need to win two in a row to advance to the semifinals.
“Mabigat ang kalaban dahil top seed at may twice-to-beat advantage. Pero paghahandaan namin, at laban lang,” said Manuel, helping the Aces get out of the doldrums with a personal conference high of 23 points.
Manuel was limited to two points in the first half before hitting his stride and himself pushing the Aces ahead for good at 104-102 on back-to-back buckets.