Suffocating defense and Carl Cruz's 20 points Wednesday powered the Alaska Aces to their first win of the Philippine Cup 94-72 over the Columbian Dyip at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It was Alaska's first victory after dropping its season opener against Rain or Shine. The Dyip fall for the third-straight time and sit at 2-4.
Cruz led all scorers with 20 points to go with nine rebounds, while Jake Pascual posted 13 points and the same number of boards for the undermanned Aces, who are missing the injured Vic Manuel and JVee Casio.
Chris Exciminiano added 12 points, Chris Banchero scored 10, while Davon Potts chipped in nine. Rookie MJ Ayaay and Jeron Teng each had eight points.
"It's a challenge for us to step up especially we are undermanned. We really needed to help each other and play as a team," said Pascual.
The Aces forced the Dyip to commit turnover after turnover and cruised to a 75-53 lead on Noy Baclao's basket with 10:45 remaining in the fourth period.
Alaska's lead was never in danger from there, with Dyip struggling to hit free throws. Columbian made only 14-of-27 from the stripe and could get no closer than 20 points the rest of the way.
With the game already beyond doubt, Davon Potts drove to the lane and scored on a left-handed layup against the outstretched arms of Roider Cabrera to establish the largest lead of the contest, 91-61.
CJ Perez paced the Dyip with 15 points and five rebounds. Jackson Corpuz, who was suffering from the flu, still finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Alaska 94 - Cruz 20, Pascual 13, Exciminiano 12, Banchero 10, Potts 9, Teng 8, Ayaay 8, Baclao 6, Thoss 4, Galliguez 4.
Columbian 72 - Perez 15, Corpuz 12, Khobuntin 8, Cabrera 6, Reyes 5, Escoto 5, Gabriel 5, Cahilig 4, Camson 4, Calvo 4, McCarthy 2, Tabi 2, Agovida 0.
Quarterscores: 20-13, 46-36, 68-50, 94-72.
- Alaska capitalized on Columbian's 15 turnovers and scored 17 points off them.
- Carl Cruz lit up early, uncorking two three-pointers for eight points on top of three rebounds and a block in close to 13 minutes of action in the first half.
- Jeepy Faundo, who was down with the flu, sat out the match.
Alaska vs. Blackwater on February 13 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Columbian vs. Meralco on February 13 at the Mall of Asia Arena.