ALASKA Milk rode on Vic Manuel’s solid performance to roll back Phoenix Super LPG, 105-97, and boost its chances for a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Angeles, Pampanga.
Manuel, nicknamed the “Muscle Man“, took the better end of his highly-anticipated duel with Calvin Abueva as he finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the Aces’ come-from-behind victory.
“Ready lang naman ako lagi, at kailangan din naman talagang mag-lead lalo na sa endgame. Maganda ang naging resulta,” said Manuel.
“Nag-respond lahat sa mga sinabi ni coach sa fourth quarter. Maganda ang ball movement at nakakuha kami ng mfa open shots,” added Manuel.
Manuel and Mike Digregorio struck hardest in the fourth quarter as the Aces finally seized control and took their first double-digit lead at 93-82.
The Aces never looked back from there
Overall, the Aces improved to 5-3 and relegated the Fuel Masters to 4-3.
“I can’t be prouder because we showed the resiliency we’re talking about,” said Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso after the game.
Digregorio ably supported Manuel with 21 points highlighted by 4-of-7 shooting from the three-point area.
The Alaska prized trade recruit had back-to-back triples that fuelled the Aces’ breakaway in the payoff period.
Two other Alaska players — Jvee Casio and Rob Herndon — finished in double figures with 13 and 12, respectively.
Matthew Wright topscored for the Fuel Masters with 27 points, including two late treys that kept the score manageable
Abueva had a respectable performance with 18 points and eight rebounds in only his second game since returning from his suspension.
At one point early in the fourth quarter, Phoenix Super LPG coach Topex Robinson charged at the referees, furiously questioning supposed roughhousing Abueva was getting from his Alaska defenders.
Abueva, however, kept his cool
Alaska (105) — Manuel 24, Digregorio21, Casio 13, Herndon 12, Teng 9, Brondial 8,Ayaay 6, Tratter 5, Ebona 4, Ahanmisi 3, Marcelino0, Galliguez 0, Publico 0, Adrada 0.
Phoenix (97) — Wright 27, Abueva 18, Chua 15, Perkins 10, Jazul 9, Intal 8, Garcia 7, Marcelo 2, Heruela 1, Gamboa 0, Reyes 0, Napoles 0, Rios 0.
Quarterscores: 19-29, 49-55,71-75,105-97.