MANILA (UPDATED) - The Alaska Aces are still alive in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup playoffs after an impressive 108-72 victory over the top-seeded TNT KaTropa, Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The KaTropa had finished with a 10-1 record in the elimination round to claim the top seed, and thus needed just one win in order to advance to the semifinals.
But the Aces -- which had to win over Meralco last Friday just to secure the 8th seed -- completely overwhelmed the KaTropa. They pulled away by double-digits at the half, then poured it on in the third quarter as TNT appeared shell-shocked.
"Definitely didn't see that coming," Alaska coach Alex Compton said after the game. "I think a big part of it was they missed shots they normally make. And these games happen. It happens to great teams, and TNT is a great team."
The KaTropa would lose prolific import Terrence Jones to a flagrant foul penalty 1 at the end of the third quarter, as he pushed back Alaska's Carl Bryan Cruz. Though he needed to be benched for just three basketball minutes, Jones did not play at all in the fourth frame as the game got away from TNT.
Jones exited with 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting, and committed 7 turnovers.
Meanwhile, it was a complete team effort for the Aces, as six players reached double-digits in giving the KaTropa only their second defeat of the conference. The loss also snapped an eight-game winning streak for TNT.
Diamon Simpson had 14 points, 19 rebounds, and 4 blocks, while Jeron Teng had 15 points and 11 boards. Chris Banchero and Simon Enciso each had 14 markers. The Aces shot 42% from the field, and had a massive 73-47 rebounding edge.
Alaska got it done on defense, as they limited TNT to just 29% shooting from the field -- a far cry from their 43% clip in the elimination round.
The Aces seized a 53-41 lead at the half, then built a 21-point lead, 64-43, off a Teng and-1 with 7:31 left in the third quarter. Jones would try to rally the KaTropa back, as he scored off a coast-to-coast bucket and another crafty lay-up to make it a 64-47 game with still 6:13 to go.
Alaska simply had an answer every time, however. After Jones made it a 17-point game, Banchero got free for a lay-up, and Vic Manuel scored back-to-back buckets -- including a high-arcing floater over Jones -- for a 71-47 count.
Jones would wind up being taken out of the game after committing a flagrant foul, and Alaska cruised to victory in the fourth quarter. They would lead by as much as 38 points, 108-70, shortly before the final buzzer.
"You're not gonna hear a lot of celebrating on our side," Compton guaranteed after they forced a do-or-die game for the semis spot on Wednesday, July 24.
This was TNT's second biggest loss in franchise history, since they were routed 110-73 by Purefoods in the 1998 Commissioner's Cup.
Jayson Castro was the only other TNT player in double-digits, with 23 points.
ALASKA 108 - Teng 15, Simpson 15, Enciso 14, Banchero 14, Manuel 13, Cruz 11, Casio 8, Racal 7, Galliguez 5, Baclao 2, Exciminiano 2, Ayaay 2, Thoss 0, Pascual 0.
TALK N TEXT 72 - Castro 23, Jones 19, Rosario 9, Taha 5, Reyes 4, Magat 4, A. Semerad 3, Heruela 2, Pogoy 2, Trollano 1, D. Semerad 0, Golla 0, Washington 0, Casiño 0.
Quarters: 27-18, 53-41, 89-60, 108-72.