|Calvin Abueva of Alaska goes for the loose ball in their PBA Philippine Cup game against Barangay Ginebra Sunday night at the Araneta Coliseum. The Aces won, 87-69. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – The Alaska Aces rolled to their fourth straight victory and sent the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings reeling to their fourth straight defeat, 87-69, in their PBA Philippine Cup game Sunday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
It was a balanced effort for the Aces, who had five players in double figures led by prized rookie Calvin Abueva, who scored 19.
JV Casio added 16 points, Cyrus Baguio scored 14 while RJ Jazul and Sonny Thoss both had 12 points for Alaska, who won four straight games for the first time in two years.
“It’s so nice to make in four in a row,” Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo told PBA.ph. “It’s so nice especially when you’re trying to find a new identity.”
Abueva, the former NCAA Most Valuable Player who was taken second in the rookie draft, continued to impress as he barely missed another double-double by grabbing nine rebounds. Casio, a former top draft pick, complemented Abueva well with four triples.
“We have to find our identity, and I think we’ve got some pieces here,” Trillo said.
The Aces caught up with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the league standings, with both squads toting identical 4-2 slates.
But the Kings are in a free-fall after winning their first two games of the season, as they have now lost four straight to slide down to seventh place at 2-4.
Point guard LA Tenorio, who left Alaska for Ginebra in a blockbuster trade in the offseason, was outplayed by Casio. Tenorio managed to score 10 points but had six miscues in the game as the Gin Kings’ offense sputtered.
“If you think about it, we’re lucky because Ginebra was not at its best now. Their chemistry was not there,” Trillo said. “But the bottom line was we played tough defense, holding them under 20 points in each of the last three quarters.”
“I think we also moved the ball well. We had 16 assists, it’s our first time to have that in a long while,” he added.
After a close 25-22 first quarter, the Aces broke away in the second quarter to enter halftime leading 46-38. They came out firing in the third canto, eventually leading by as much as 20, 81-61.
Tenorio insists that he is not losing hope despite Ginebra’s slide.
“Kainaman ng tournament na ito, 14 games ang eliminations. Kayang-kayang humabol,” Tenorio pointed out. “But we have to start going now.”
Dylan Ababou scored 14 points for Ginebra while Mark Caguioa added 12 points.
ALASKA 87 - Abueva 19, Casio 16, Baguio 14, Jazul 12, Thoss 12, Hontiveros 5, Espinas 4, Baracael 2, Dela Cruz 2, Reyes 1, Eman 0.
GINEBRA 69 - Ababou 14, Caguioa 12, Tenorio 10, Maierhofer 7, Mamaril 6, Cortez 6, Raymundo 5, Ellis 4, Wilson 3, Jensen 2, Helterbrand 0.
Quarters: 25-22, 46-38, 64-52, 87-69