The Alaska Aces exploited the absence of injured import Eric Dawson to destroy the Blackwater Elite 107-87 in the 2016 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup yesterday August 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces played like a perennial contender, easily pummeling lowly Blackwater for a much needed morale-boosting victory.
Alaska import LaDontae Henton was brilliant. He scored a game-high 33 points to pace the Aces.
Kevin Racal added 12 markers, on a perfect four-of-four shooting from the field, while Ping Exciminiano had 11.
Alaska badly needed this victory to keep its chances of making the top eight and the quarterfinals alive as it now improved to 3-5 in the standings.
On the other hand, the woeful Elite is back in the cellar with a league-worst 1-6 mark. It now needs to win its last four games to have a crack at entering the quarters.
The Aces left the helpless Elite in the dust in the second period.
Led by Henton, Alaska blasted Blackwater and outscored it 26-13 in a huge surge in the last eight minutes of the second to break the game wide open.
By halftime, the Aces were already in firm grip of the contest, leading by 18 big points, 54-36. They never looked back. The game was in the bag for Alaska by halftime.
“We really needed this win. We need to do whatever it takes to make it to the next round,” said Henton.
Henton fired 23 points after the first 24 minutes. He was on target right from the get-go.
The Aces had their most efficient game of the tournament thus far, even leading by as much as 30 points twice in the second half. The Elite just didn’t give them much problems at all.
Chris Banchero was a solid contributor as well for Alaska. He dished out a career-high 12 assists along with eight points.
The Elite was just overpowered without Dawson who sat out his second game this conference because of back spasms.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra (5-2) is currently looking to move a step closer to securing a spot in the quarters as it is taking on lowly rival Star (1-5) as of this report.
A win for the Gin Kings will push them further up in the upper half of the standings while the Hotshots are in dire need of a win to keep their sagging chances of making it in the top eight alive.
ALASKA ACES 107 – LaDontae Henton 33, Kevin Racal 12, Ping Exciminiano 11, Chris Banchero 8, Noy Baclao 7, Calvin Abueva 7, Sonny Thoss 6, RJ Jazul 5, Jvee Casio 4, Rome Dela Rosa 4, Jaypee Mendoza 4, Tony Dela Cruz 4, Dondon Hontiveros 2, Marion Magat 0, Eric Menk 0.
BLACKWATER ELITE 87 – Art Dela Cruz 23, Carlo Lastimosa 18, Bambam Gamalinda 10, Jason Melano 10, Denok Miranda 6, Raphy Reyes 5, James Sena 4, Juami Tiongson 3, Kyle Pascual 2, Roi Sumang 2, Imad Qahwash 2, Frank Golla 2.
Quarter scores: 25-20, 54-36, 82-54, 107-87.
(Smart Araneta Coliseum):
4:15 p.m. - TNT KaTropa vs. GlobalPort
7 p.m. - San Miguel vs. Meralco
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