MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Alaska recovered from a lethargic start to turn the tables against Phoenix Super LPG, pulling away for a 105-97 victory in their 2020 PBA Philippine Cup showdown, Thursday at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The Aces trailed by 10 points after the opening frame and were down by as much as 14 points, but they dominated the final quarter to secure a second consecutive triumph while snapping Phoenix Super LPG's brief two-game winning streak.
Alaska improved to 5-3 in the conference, putting them on the inside track for a Top 4 finish. The Fuel Masters dropped to 4-3.
"I can't be anymore prouder," said Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso after the game. "We really showed that resiliency that we talked about. We have to dig deep each and every game."
Vic Manuel made 11 of his 14 field goals en route to 24 points, while also adding seven rebounds and three assists. Mike DiGregorio added 21 points, and JVee Casio had 13 points while keeping the Aces afloat in the first half.
After trailing 29-19 at the end of the first quarter, the Aces steadily chipped away at the deficit, and they were down by just four points, 75-71, as Jeron Teng started to come alive.
It was back-and-forth in the early goings of the fourth period, until Phoenix Super LPG coach Topex Robinson was called for a technical foul following a perceived non-call against Calvin Abueva.
DiGregorio made the free throw for a 79-78 lead, although Abueva scored off a floater to push the Fuel Masters back ahead in the next possession.
But Manuel answered back quickly on the other end, and his layup sparked an 18-2 Alaska run that turned the game into a blowout, 97-82. A late barrage of three-pointers from Matthew Wright gave Phoenix Super LPG some hope, but Manuel was there to douse their attempts at a comeback.
Alaska clobbered Phoenix Super LPG, 34-22, in the fourth quarter to seize the come-from-behind win. DiGregorio scored 14 points in the payoff period, making three three-pointers.
Wright finished with 27 points, although his scoring flurry proved too late for the Fuel Masters. Abueva, in his second game back from a 16-month long suspension, had 18 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.