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Perfect 6 for alaska

  • Written by Arman Carandang
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 4373

ALASKA Milk streaked to its sixth straight win in the PBA Philippine Cup  but not after struggling on both ends of the court.
Fortunately for  the  Aces, they were  ranged against  an expansion team in  Blackwater that played more poorly,  offensively and defensively.
The Aces, who led at the half (32-20),  tightened   their defenses in  the  second  half  to  pull off a 69-56 win at the Smart  Araneta Coliseum.
“I thought we set the tone defensively in the first half,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton after the low-scoring game.
“I am happy with the way the guys responded (in the second half).”
“We still  have to improve in a lot of areas. Nothing we are doing is secret. I think  the team’s out there knows how to play us,” added Compton.
The Aces nevertheless kept their hot streaking going in the kick-off conference, while sending the Elite reeling to their sixth straight loss.
With most of Alaska’s take-charge guys seemingly in their off-night, old  warrior Eric Menk took the cudgel  to carry the fight for the Aces, cutting  loose with 14 points to complement Calvin Abueva in offense.
The  Aces, after taking a 32-20 lead at the half, sputtered in the third quarter thought they kept the driver’s seat, but recovered in time to build a 59-46 lead in the last 5:20 as their pressure defense took the fight out of the scrambling Elite.
Negating Dondon Hontiveros’ fadeway jumper opening up the second quarter, the Elite knocked in back-to-back baskets through John Paul Erram’s undergoal and Larry Rodriguez’s drive to narrow the gap at 13-17.
It was a nice offensive strike by the Elite that did not last long, no thanks to their disorganized play on both ends.
The Elite’s seemingly unsystematic offense and lack of clear defensive pattern gave the Aces lots of opportunity to make extra passes each offensive play.
As a result, Calvin Abueva had grand time making not only baskets but assists, with Baguio, and occasionally Eric Menk, at the receiving end.
Abueva struck for a couple on inside plays, then set up Baguio and Erick Menk for an easy basket each in an  onslaught which stunned the Elite.
Before the Elite could react, the Aces  were already enjoying a 32-20 lead at the half.
The Elite simply could not seem to carry out their offensive play, with only  Chris Timberlake managing to score  following his 15-footer in the last four minutes of the second quarter.
Meanwhile ,  Rain or Shine  (4-2)  and Meralco   (3-2)  clash  today in  a crucial  out-of-town game  in   Davao City.
Game time is 5 p.m. with the Elasto Painters sightly  f avored to beat  the  Bolts  and  move  into solo third place behind Alaska and Barangay Ginebra.
The scores:
Alaska  (69)--  Menk 14, Abueva 13, Manuel 10, Banchero 6, Baguio 6, Hontiveros 6, Casio 4, Eximiano 3, Jazul 3, Bugia 2, Dela Cruz 0, Eman 0, Dela Rosa 0.
Blackwater (56) -- Rodriguez 10, Erram 9, Menor 9, Gamalinda 5, Salvacion 5, Artadi 4, Timberlake 3, Tiongson 3, Faundo 2, Nuyles 2, Ballesteros 2, Laure 2, Celis 0, Cawaling 0.
Quarterscores: 15-9; 32-20; 46-38; 69-56