Alaska snapped a two-game losing skid in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup by limiting an atrocious Rain or Shine offense to the second-lowest scoring total in league history in a grimy 74-48 win, Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Only a late three-pointer by Adrian Wong in the last 18 seconds saved the Elasto Painters from the embarrassment of breaking the long-standing record set by Shell in a 79-94 loss to Mobiline on May 3, 2000.
Rodney Brondial led all scorers with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting to go along with six rebounds and one assist in just 19 minutes, while Abu Tratter posted a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds as well as a block. Maverick Ahanmisi also breached double-digit scoring with 10 to go with six rebounds, four assists, and two steals for the now 2-2 Aces.
"Obviously, we're really happy that we were able to get a W," remarked head coach Jeff Cariaso. "But I think what allowed us to be successful tonight was really how we approached losing the last game. Mentally, it's a challenge when you lose two in a row with a quick schedule like we have."
"You can't be too high, you can be too low, and I want to commend the guys for not being too low even after losing two games and staying focused with video sessions, staying focused with two days of practice."
Alaska jumped ahead and never looked back after a robust start, where a 13-0 run turned a 4-all deadlock into a 17-4 lead with Ben Adamos, Gab Banal, and Brondial hitting three triples during that first quarter stretch.
Rain or Shine cut the lead to five with a Jewel Ponferada bucket to begin the second period, but would manage only three more field goals and nine more points as Alaska kept its stranglehold on the Elasto Painters.
DiGregorio, in particular, delivered the pain by burying two separate triples that hiked the lead to 18 twice right before the half for the Aces, who entered intermission with a commanding 41-23 lead.
Alaska's first half offense was not exactly spectacular (42.1 percent), but their tremendous work on a Rain or Shine side that managed just 22.2 percent (8-for-36) in the first two quarters provided a cushion that proved to be more than enough.
A 7-0 the Aces start to the third quarter widened the gap to 25, 48-23, and essentially put away Rain or Shine, but not before an ugly struggle in a fourth quarter where both teams combined for a measly 22-point total.
After a Wong bucket made it a 61-41 game with 10:32 left, both teams endured a brutal four-minute stretch wherein nobody made a field goal, with three Alaska free throws the only points scored during that span.
Rey Nambatac gave the Elasto Painters their first field goal in the final frame at the 6:19 mark, but their ghastly offense continued to fire bricks and managed just two more free throws before Wong's late triple kept the franchise from rewriting record books.
The Aces never trailed despite shooting only 38.5 percent from the field and also massively outworked their counterparts on the boards, 62-46.
Erstwhile unbeaten Rain or Shine fell to 3-1 as its offense went missing, with no player in double-digits. Wong, with his history-denying three, topped the scoring column with just nine off the bench.
Coach Chris Gavina's wards also only made 20.9 percent of their shots, the lowest mark in franchise history and the second-lowest by any PBA team ever.
Alaska 74 - Brondial 13, Tratter 12, Ahanmisi 10, DiGregorio 9, Teng 6, Casio 5, Banal 5, Taha 4, Marcelino 3, Adamos 3, Ebona 2, Stockton 2, Herndon 0, Publico 0.
Rain or Shine 48 - Wong 9, Torres 7, Caracut 6, Ponferrada 6, Nambatac 5, Belga 5, , Norwood 4, Borboran 3, Guinto 2, Santillan 1, Rivero 0, Mocon 0.
Quarter scores: 19-12, 41-23, 61-39, 74-48.
- Per PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III, this was also the lowest-scoring game in more than eight years, when Petron defeated Shopinas, 60-53, back in the 2013 Commissioner's Cup.
- Rain or Shine's 39 points through three quarters were the second-lowest total for the franchise, next only to the 38 they scored in a 58-63 loss to Barangay Ginebra back in 2008.
- Alaska vs. Meralco on Saturday, July 31, at 4:35 p.m., at Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig
- Rain or Shine vs. Terrafirma on Sunday, August 1, at 7:00 p.m., at Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig