The Alaska Aces extended their win streak to six games after surviving the Magnolia Hotshots, 103-99, in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Vic Manuel had a superb night, finishing with a game-high 35 points. He went 14-of-20 from the field and grabbed seven boards in 23 minutes off the bench. Meanwhile, Antonio Campbell had 28 points and 15 boards.
Alaska was holding a slim one-point lead, 71-70, after three quarters. Both teams traded jabs to begin the final period before Magnolia went up by three after a jumper from Paul Lee at the 8:34 mark. Vic Manual responded on the other end for Alaska but Rafi Reavis completed a three-point play to put the Hotshots on top by four, 83-79, with 7:28 remaining in the game.
Manuel knocked down a pair of free throws and a baseline jumper to knot the game at 83-all. The two teams went back-and-forth for several possessions but the Aces reclaimed the lead on a Casio layup, 89-88, 3:14 left on the clock. After a miss from Magnolia, Manuel converted on a three-point play to push the lead to four. Jackson and Casio exchanged baskets before Lee drained a three-pointer to inch the Hotshots within one, 1:46 to go.
Manuel went to the stripe again and hit both free throws to give Alaska a three-point edge. Lee missed on the Hotshots' next trip down and Casio knocked down a jumper to put the Aces on top by five, 98-93, 59 seconds left. Magnolia had a chance to pull closer but Jackson missed on a dunk attempt as Manuel added two more free throws to extend Alaska's lead to seven with 36 ticks remaining, 100-93.
Magnolia called a timeout and Mark Barroca made a three to cut the deficit to four, 32 seconds to go, but the Aces were able to hold on for their sixth victory of the conference.
Justin Jackson and Lee each handed in 21-point performances in Magnolia's loss.
Alaska now holds a 6-1 win-loss record, while the Hotshots slid to 3-4 in the team standings.
The Alaska Aces on Saturday suspended Calvin Abueva indefinitely for missing practices for more than a week now and failing to inform the team of his whereabouts.
Jeron Teng tweeted on Friday that he is now in stable condition after suffering multiple stab wounds during a parking lot altercation last week. The rookie said he is focused on his recovery and his return to action for the Aces remains uncertain.
Former Alaska player and now assistant coach Tony dela Cruz was given a special retirement tribute at halftime.
Justin Jackson is Magnolia's third import so far this conference. The first import the Hotshots fielded was Vernon Macklin, who was then replaced by Curtis Kelly.
Alaska - June 15 vs. NLEX at MOA Arena
Magnolia - June 17 vs. Ginebra at Smart-Araneta Coliseum