THANKS to this hardworking import, Columbian Dyip got off to a rousing start in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Khapri Alston came up with a yeoman job right on his first foray in the PBA, leading the Dyip to a 117-110 victory over Alaska and to a big start in the season-ending conference.
Described by coach Johhedel Cardel as a shifty, athletic all-around player, Alston scored 38 points and pulled down 22 rebounds as he lived exactly as advertised and helped the Dyip give Alaska’s brandnew coach in Jeffrey Cariaso a rude welcome.
CJ Perez was easily the brightest among the Dyip, coming away with 28 points and 13 rebounds, with Glenn Khobuntin, Juami Tiongson and Rashawn McCarthy giving considerable offensive support in a game that took almost two and half hours to finish.
Khobuntin finished with 16 points while Tiongson and McCarthy chipped in 11 points each for the Dyip also showed resilience coming home in the face of the Aces’ pressure.
Justin Watts led the Aces with 40 points and 14 rebounds. His triple with 56 secodns left put eh Aces within 111-104, before CJ Perez and McCarthy fended off whatever the Aces had in mind of overturning the game in their favour.
The Dyip restored their offensive in the third quarter, unloading an 18-6 scoring binge where Alston scored 12 points to lead by 12 points again, 74-62, with 6:40 remaining.
Sonny Thoss broke his silence with a basket while Watts scored on a layup and a triple as the Aces cut their deficit to 78-71, but the Dyip quickly cut the Alaska momentum and set off their offensive anew to post a 93-81 lead at the end of the third.
Watts barrelled his way through heavy traffic as Alaska tied the count at 37-all with eight minutes left in the second quarter after trailing by as many as 12 points earlier. The Aces finally took the lead at 42-39 on a triple by Watts over Columbian’s Khapri Alston.
The Dyip outrebounded the Aces, 28-20, but the latter showed good ball movement as manifested by their 12 assists against Columbian’s only five the entire first half. Both teams though were always quick to react and adjust in every situation and that was especially obvious in the latter part of the second half, as a result of which a close fight erupted all the way to halftime which ended at 56-all.
The elimination resumes today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with another double-header pitting Phoenix against NLEX in the first game at 4:30 p.m. and Meralco against Magnolia in the main tussle at 6:45 p.m.
The Fuel Masters have renewed their partnership with old, reliable import in Eugene Phelps in their bid to hopefully change their fortunes in the pro-league since the team was rocked by a controversy after Calvin Abueva got involved in at least two incidents. That resulted into the PBA suspending him.
The suspension tolled heavily on the Fuel Masters who finished with a 4-7 record in the last Commissioner’s Cup and missed the playoffs for the first time the franchise acquired hum a trade in August.
Olu Ashaolu is beefing up the Road Warriors who are setting out at full strength with the return of Kiefer Ravena after serving out his FIBA-imposed suspension.
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.