Aces display resiliency
Alaska’s Vic Manuel shoots over Phoenix’ Jorey Napoles with Aces forward Rodney Brondial and Fuel Masters guard RR Garcia looking on.
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Aces display resiliency
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

Manuel, Digregorio star in crucial salvo

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY, Pampanga, Philippines — Phoenix Super LPG was threatening to go two-for-two with Calvin Abueva back on board. But Alaska Milk had an ace up its sleeve.

Trailing most of the way, the Aces reversed the tide with a strong finishing kick en route to a 105-97 conquest of the Fuel Masters and back-to-back wins in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Vic Manuel flexed his muscles in a 24-point performance at the AUF Sports Arena Powered by Smart 5G, dropping 10 in the fourth, where the Aces, after patiently chopping down on Phoenix’ 14-point lead, finally zoomed ahead.

Mike DiGregorio fired 21 spiked by four triples, rattling 14 markers in the fiery windup that helped catapult Alaska to a 5-3 record.

They snapped the two-game roll of the Fuel Masters (4-3) and the solid all-around games of Matthew Wright (27 points, nine rebounds and five assists) and Abueva (18-8-5).

“I can’t be any more proud because we really showed our resilience,” said Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso.

Later, NLEX stopped rampaging TNT Tropang Giga in their tracks in a bruising encounter,109-98, to end a two-game slide and keep its quarterfinals bid alive. The Road Warriors improved to 2-5 while dealing mighty TNT its first loss after a 5-0 start.

“We have to dig deep each and every game and there’s always different challenges. Against Phoenix, it’s defending the three and not letting it affect us if they start making it. So I think that’s the biggest thing,” said Cariaso.

After catching up with hot-starting Phoenix late in the third, the Aces turned up the heat in the final canto and unleashed an 18-2 salvo led by Manuel and DiGregorio to seize control for good, 97-82.

“We were able to execute our offense in the fourth and with good ball movement, we’re able to get open shots,” said Manuel.

JVee Casio added 13 for Alaska, his outside sniping in the second period helping the Aces get to within striking distance after Phoenix opened a 34-20 lead.

Rob Herndon rounded out Alaska’s double-digit scorers with 12 and added seven assists.

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