Alaska survived a career night from Christian Standhardinger to eke out a 106-99 win over NorthPort for their second straight win in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces opened up a 98-89 lead that it would maintain for most of the final three minutes and might have been well on their way to an easy win if not for Standhardinger, whose personal 7-1 run pulled the Batang Pier within three, 102-99, with 31 seconds left.
NorthPort ran out of answers in the clutch, though, as Vic Manuel and Jeron Teng iced the game with four free throws in the final 17 seconds for Alaska.
"I think this is one of those games that we talk about all the time. It's being able to grind out a win. So, why this means a lot is because, down the stretch there was always adjustments. I think what's nice about how the guys performed tonight. Even though our opponents were making a comeback, they kept on fighting, they kept executing. We were getting good shots. That's a testament to how we like to play," coach Jeff Cariaso said.
Manuel and Frank House both poured in 23 points and combined to grab 21 rebounds while Abu Tratter and Teng contributed with 17 and 13, respectively. The Aces -- who won't play for another week -- improve to 3-6 and stayed in the hunt for one of the final quarterfinals seeds.
"I think we have a good chance," Cariaso said. "Our backs are against the wall. What's nice about our schedule, with the situation we're in, it's a bit favorable for us. We're able to get a week to prepare, then another week."
Standhardinger provided a huge double-double of 37 points on 15-for-21 shots and 16 rebounds to go along with five assists, but import Michael Qualls (35 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks and three steals) was the only other player to score in double-figures for the Batang Pier as they slipped to 3-5.
"I'm surrounded by a lot of great basketball players by a lot of great shooters. So it's very very important for us as a team that everybody gets enough shots up and and makes them or just gets them up to be a threat. And I think that's what we need to work on and when I watch film, I'll see how I can get more guys going," said Standhardinger.
This is also NorthPort's first game without star guard Robert Bolick, who is out for six months with a partial tear on his ACL. Standhardinger said the team is missing Bolick's presence.
"Robert is a tremendous player, you now. He's, not without reason, one of the best guys who performed in the last Gilas tournament. Obviously we are missing him. He plays tremendous defense, [and] he has high basketball IQ. So we missed him, but now we need to figure out, you know, how we can win without him and move forward and be in a good position when he comes back and joins us," he said.
Alaska (106) -- Manuel 23, House 23, Tratter 17, Teng 13, Enciso 8, Casio 7, Racal 6, Thoss 4, Ahanmisi 4, Pascual 1, Ayaay 0.
NorthPort (99) -- Standhardinger 37, Qualls 35, Anthony 8, King 5, Ferrer 3, Taha 2, Elorde 1, Cruz 0, Escoto 0.
Quarters: 28-29, 53-48, 83-76, 106-99.
- Alaska played without star guard Chris Banchero. Cariaso confirmed that the Aces are still awaiting approval on a trade that would send Banchero to Magnolia in exchange for Robbie Herndon and Rodney Brondial.
- Maverick Ahanmisi played his first game in an Aces uniform and logged four points, four rebounds, one assists and one steal in 17 minutes off the bench.
- NorthPort vs. Meralco on Nov. 10 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo
- Alaska vs. Phoenix on Nov. 10 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum