From a 19-day break, Alaska Milk played tough all throughout an overtime grind versus Star, carving out a 97-90 win to move up to joint third in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.
Do-it-all forwards Vic Manuel and Calvin Abueva were in their usual selves, giving the Aces tremendous lift as they pulled through in their first outing in 2017 and caught up with the TNT KaTropa Texters and the GlobalPort Batang Pier at third at 4-3.
Manuel produced 25 points and eight rebounds while Abueva came through with 23 markers and nine boards as they got the Aces back on the winning track after they dropped their last game against the Texters last Dec. 23.
But Alaska coach Alex Compton also cited the special efforts of their other guys as they dealt the Hotshots a fourth loss against three wins.
“Calvin and Vic. Sila talaga ang bida sa game na ito with their tremendous energy. But there were other players on the opposite end ofthe spectrum. Ordinary fans, baka hindi nakita yon,” said Compton.
“Tony dela Cruz started in the third and he made a key job. Ang ingay nya sa depensa. Yon ang gusto naming mga coach. Ang laki ng tulong non. Then there’s Jaypee Mendoza. I don’t know his DNA, but I think he’s a cousin of Calvin,” Compton added.
Both teams went without a basket in the last 1:16 of play as the game went into overtime at 116-all.
Allein Maliksi fired 11 points in the fourth quarter, including three treys, but missed his last three field-goal tries.
Alaska took the final possession with 3.0 seconds to go, but Abueva muffed a top-of-the-key jumper.
It was a game marked by numerous momentum swings.
The Aces had their key run in the third period, wiping out a 10-point deficit then erecting a 11-point lead at 68-57 on a reversed layup by Ping Exciminiano with 2:30 left in the quarter.
Rafi Reavis and Marc Pingris led the way for the Hotshots early on as they opened their 10-point margin at 40-30.