NOW with a complete line-up in tow, Alaska showed everyone that it is back in full strength.
The Aces finally listed their first victory of the season, coming from behind in the last few minutes and taking a hard-fought 95-84 victory over erstwhile league-leading GlobalPort in the 2016-17 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City last night.
In his first game of the season after missing his team’s first two due to an injury, Calvin Abueva went right back to work with a vengeance, leading his team to triumph with a solid game with a double-double of 22 points and 11 boards to lead the Aces’ charge.
Alaska improved to 1-2 to move up the ladder, while GlobalPort fell to 2-1, still good for a first-place tie with a couple of teams, after tasting its first setback.
The Aces trailed for most of the last three periods, but gathered itself to produce the most important surge of the game, a decisive 26-6 kick to end the game emphatically.
GlobalPort had no answer to the storm that Alaska brought in crunch time.
“The press got us back in the game down the stretch. We were able to take better shots as well and those things helped us take this win,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.
Alaska was still down 69-78 halfway the fourth, but it suddenly stepped its foot on the gas pedal when it mattered to pull off that tremendous rally and finish off GlobalPort.
Jvee Casio added 15 points and five rebounds for the Aces.
Alaska actually had a nice jumpstart, taking a double-digit lead, 12-2, right away off the gates after the first four minutes of the game but GlobalPort immediately crawled its way back, pulling within just one, 20-21, at the end of the first period to make the game competitive just as expected.
The Batang Pier then took the driver’s seat and held a 40-35 lead at the half and led until the Aces took charge in the game’s last six minutes.
Terrence Romeo came off the bench to lead all scorers with 26 points, four assists and four steals.