The Alaska Aces put on a masterful fourth quarter to dismantle the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, 105-97, in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Thursday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena.
Behind the brilliance of Vic Manuel and Mike DiGregorio, the Aces unloaded 34 points in the final frame. DiGregorio played the entire fourth, dropping 14 points while Manuel added 10.
Manuel finished the game with 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting and 7 rebounds while DiGregorio had 21 points, anchored by four shots from downtown. Phoenix had control of most of the contest before Alaska's late surge.
"I can't be any more prouder. We really showed that resiliency that we talked about," said Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso, whose team was down by as many as 14 points. "We have to dig deep each and every game. There's always a different challenge. We know how awesome Phoenix is. Coach Topex (Robinson) is doing a wonderful job with his boys. They come out to play."
The game was tied at 78 with roughly nine minutes remaining when Alaska took over and things turned sour for Phoenix. Coach Topex Robinson was called for a technical foul, arguing the physical play on Calvin Abueva.
That proved to be the turning point for the Aces as they pulled away after the momentary stop in action. The Aces went on a blistering run, breaking the game wide open. A short stab from Robbie Herndon made it 97-82 with four minutes remaining as the tide dramatically turned.
Matthew Wright caught fire in the final two minutes to give the Fuel Masters a fighting chance. However, time wasn't on their side and the Aces were able to hold on.
Wright top-scored for his squad with 27 points while adding 9 rebounds and 5 assists. In just his second game back, Abueva once again had another all-around performance, tallying 18 points, 8 boards, and dished out 5 assists.
"We don't just focus on one guy. We know that Matthew is a big part of what they do. He's a scorer, he's a shooter, he's gonna get his points. Understanding that we were just trying to make it difficult for him so that's how we approached him," Cariaso said.
Alaska rose to 5-3 in the standings while Phoenix couldn't make it three wins in a row, settling for a 4-3 record.
ALASKA 105 - Manuel 24, DiGregorio 21, Casio 13, Teng 9, Brondial 8, Ayaay 6, Tratter 5, Ebona 4, Ahanmisi 3, Galliguez 0, Publico 0
PHOENIX 97 - Wright 27, Abueva 18, Chua 15, Perkins 10, Jazul 9, Intal 8, Garcia 7, Marcelo 2, Heruela 1, Napoles 0, Rios 0
Quarters : 19-29, 49-55, 71-75, 105-97
Alaska outscored Phoenix in terms of bench production, 53-36, and in second chance points, 20-8.
Phoenix managed to knock down 17 triples, which is higher than its 11.83 average, in the loss.
Phoenix vs. Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 6:45 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Alaska vs. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 1.