Alaska will live to fight another day.
The eighth-seeded Aces banked on a terrific start to stun shell-shocked top-ranked TNT KaTropa with a blowout 36-point rout, 108-72, and force a winner-take-all knockout in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
Six Aces scored in twin-digits led by Diamon Simpson’s steady double-double with 15 points and 19 rebounds while Jeron Teng came off the bench to produce the same amount of points with 11 rebounds for his own double-double.
Chris Banchero and Simon Enciso had 14 markers each, Vic Manuel added 13 and Carl Bryan Cruz had 11.
As a result, the Tropang Texters, who came in with a twice-to-beat incentive, and the Aces will see each other again on Wednesday in a playoff to see who moves forward to the semifinals.
Eager to survive and continue its campaign, the Aces came out of the gates firing, showing a lot of urgency.
Alaska started out hot to carve a double-digit lead right away, 21-10, in the first eight minutes of play after Banchero’s pull-up jumper conversion at the 4:34 mark of the opening period.
That enabled Alaska to seize control while frustrating the Tropang Texters from the outset.
The Aces then stretched their advantage to 15, 53-38, in the closing seconds of the second period, continuing their juggernaut.
There was no looking back from there.
The in-sync Aces continued their assault in the second half, putting the hammer down on TNT emphatically in the third period by increasing their lead to over 20 points for the most part.
The Texters did not know what hit them as they never stood a chance from start to finish.
Still, they have a chance to salvage their run in the knockout game on Wednesday.
Only Jayson Castro and Terrence Jones showed up for the Texters as they scored 23 and 19 points, respectively, without much help from their pals.
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