Calvin Abueva let the PBA know he was back in action the other night, scoring a double double to secure the Aces’ first win for the season, 95-84 over GloalPort Batang Pier. The Beast was responsible for 22 points and 11 rebounds. The game also saw the returns of Vic Manuel, who contributed eight points, and Ping Exciminiano, both of whom had been under suspension the previous game. Compounding matters was the absence of Sonny Thoss and Noy Baclao.
Despite a strong start, the third quarter saw the Aces down by 16 points, 47-63, resulting in Dondon Hontiveros, Tony dela Cruz, Chris Banchero, Marion Magat and Exciminiano pooling their efforts to push back. The result: four turnovers and a 15-2 run that put the Aces back in the game at 62-65.
In the fourth quarter, the Aces were within striking distance at 62-65, back in the game thanks to their emphasis on defense. It was then that Abueva and Jvee Casio got to work, contributing ten points apiece. With the Aces playing their utmost, the last three minutes resulted in four turnovers, and a pair of trebles from Casio that brought Alaska to 91-82 with 44 seconds left to play.
After the game, Aces Head Coach Alex Compton said, “Obviously, the press got us back in the game and we started moving the ball better…“It’s great to have all the guys back,” said Compton, “and the guys who held the fort while the others were absent continued to play well today.”
Following the two losses that opened their season, the Alaska Aces’ win over GlobalPort proved to PBA fans that, even without the service of their two centers, the Never Quit Squad have the heart to pursue and engage in the #Drivefor15.
Image source: Alaska Aces