Newly wed Manuel delivers Aces bring down Elite, share lead
Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2015 - 10:00am

Games today (MOA Arena)

3 p.m. – Talk n Text vs Mahindra

5:15 p.m. – Barako Bull vs Ginebra


MANILA, Philippines – Vic Manuel reported for work two days after his wedding and provided the spark and inspiration as Alaska Milk turned back Blackwater, 87-79, for a second straight win in the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup at the MOA Arena last night.

Kept on the bench in the first half, Manuel came out to key a crucial second-half turnaround leading to Alaska’s follow-up on its 114-98 conquest of Talk n Text Friday.

The Aces drew level with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, the NLEX Road Warriors and the San Miguel Beermen at 2-0 while the Elite remained out of the win column with a second straight setback.

“I’m glad I have him,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton, referring to Manuel whom he intended not to field in the contest.

“He’s newlywed and I wanted to give him a day-off,” Compton said.

But with the Aces groping for form through the first half, Compton was forced to tap Manuel who responded with a solid 18-minute performance where he churned out 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra squares off with Barako Bull while Talk n Text faces off with Mahindra in the league’s Halloween presentation in the same playing venue tonight.

The four teams are all coming off a losing season-opening game.

“I felt our decision-making in the first half was very poor. We’re disrupted by Blackwater’s defense. We didn’t get to where we wanted to. Nobody set us up to where we want to be,” Compton said.

“But credit to our players, they played with fire in the second half. Our defense improved significantly in the second half,” Compton added.

Jvee Casio, Sonny Thoss and Chris Banchero added significant numbers on the offensive end, and the whole team clamped down on defense in the second half, holding the Elite to 31 points.

Reil Cervantes, Jerick Canada and Mike Cortez led the way as the Elite dominated the first half, leading by seven, 48-41.

“I didn’t like our form tonight. We’re fantastic against TNT. But this only showed there’s no easy team in the PBA,” said Compton. “Blackwater did a good job. They clearly outplayed us in the first half. They gave us tough problems.”

Casio scored eight of his 10 points in the third with Manuel, Cyrus Baguio and Dondon Hontiveros hitting clutch baskets as the Aces pulled ahead, 69-66, going into the final quarter.

Manuel then took charge in the payoff period, personally finishing off the Elite.

Globalport started strong consistently in all quarters and bucked the mightiest of Star fightbacks in hacking out a 101-94 win in the nightcap.

“This team still has a lot to improve. We’re still working on our chemistry. Pag nabuo ito, maraming papahirapan ito,” said Globalport coach Pido Jarencio.

NOTES: Kevin Racal signed a two-year pact with the Alaska Milk Aces the day after leading the Letran Knights to the NCAA championship. The 6-foot-3 wingman inked his contract with the Aces inside the Alaska dugout shortly after a win over Blackwater. Racal could be a draft steal, being tabbed by Alaska in the recent rookie draft at No. 11. He’s reunited with former Letran coach Louie Alas at Alaska.

The scores: 

First Game

ALASKA 87 – Banchero 13, Manuel 13, Dela Cruz 11, Casio 10, Abueva 7, Dela Rosa 7, Thoss 6, Hontiveros 5, Baclao 4, Baguio 4, Exciminiano 4, Jazul 2, Magat 1, Eman 0.

BLACKWATER 79 – Erram 13, Cervantes 11, Canada 10, Melano 10, Cortez 9, Reyes 7, Gamalinda 5, Ballesteros 4, Sena 4, Agovida 3, Golla 2, Lastimosa 1, Vosotros 0.

Quarterscores: 20-22, 41-48, 69-66, 87-79

Second Game

GLOBALPORT 101 – Pringle 23, Romeo 20, Kramer 14, Jensen 12, Washington 10, Mamaril 8, Yeo 8, Maierhofer 4, Paniamogan 2, Sumang 0, Uyloan 0.

STAR 94 – Pingris 14, Barroca 13, Simon 12, Sangalang 11, Torres 10, Yap 10, Pascual R. 7, Taha 7, Melton 4, Pascual J. 4, Mallari 2.

Quarterscores: 24-17, 48-46, 74-73, 101-94

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