Despite being short on personnel, the Alaska Aces still found ways to turn back the Magnolia Hotshots, 103-99, in their pulsating 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup duel on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Stretching their winning run to six games, the short-handed Aces have now secured a quarterfinal spot with a 6-1 slate, while the Hotshots dropped to 3-4 after losing three games in a row.
Minus two of their key players in Calvin Abueva and Jeron Teng, Vic Manuel stood tallest for Alaska, exploding for a career-high 35 points on top of seven rebounds and two blocks off the bench.
Scoring 18 points in the first three quarters, Manuel became unstoppable in the final frame as he took matters in his own hands, firing away 17 points to lead Alaska’s finishing kick that thwarted Magnolia’s spirited challenge.
Antonio Campbell ended up with 28 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks, while Jvee Casio also came through in the clutch for the Aces, pouring all of his eight markers in the last three minutes of the game.
Debuting import Justin Jackson led the way for the Hotshots with 21 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, while Paul Lee powered their bench with 21 markers in a losing effort.
ALASKA 103 – Manuel 35, Campbell 28, Thoss 9, Casio 8, Banchero 7, Enciso 6, Racal 5, Baclao 4, Exciminiano 1, Pascual R. 0.
MAGNOLIA 99 – Lee 21, Jackson 21, Melton 14, Reavis 9, Simon 9, Barroca 9, Dela Rosa 9, Jalalon 4, Herndon 2, Brondial 1, Pascual 0, Ramos 0.
Quarter scores: 23-16, 46-39, 71-70, 103-99.