The Alaska Aces took full advantage of the absence of Terrence Romeo to fashion out a 107-79 walloping of the GlobalPort Batang Pier on the second playdate of the 2017 Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Import Cory Jefferson, who just flew in Thursday night as a late replacement for Octavious Ellis, impressed in his PBA debut with 28 points and 14 rebounds on 11-of-18 shooting from the field in just 27 minutes of play.
The Aces were in firm control all throughout, allowing the Batang Pier the lead only in the first few minutes of the contest. But after newly-acquired Simon Encisco, who was traded by Phoenix for RJ Jazul, hit a jump shot to give Alaska an 11-9 lead with 6:32 left in the first period, GlobalPort never led again. The Aces raced to a 32-24 lead after one and extended it to 59-42 at the halftime break with good ball movement and big contributions from bench players Abel Galliguez and Marion Magat.
It was cruise control for the Aces for most of the second half as they built an 81-58 lead heading into the final quarter. The Batang Pier tried to make a game of it by opening the fourth period with a 9-0 run behind import Sean Williams, but Calvin Abueva scattered nine of his 15 points during a murderous 20-7 blast that broke the game wide open at 101-74.
Romeo, the league’s leading scorer with an average of 28.7 points per contest, missed the game with an undisclosed illness that also caused him to skip the three-day training camp of Gilas Pilipinas in Tagaytay earlier in the week. His absence was visibly felt by the Batang Pier as they managed just 79 points, well below their Philippine Cup average of 97.7.
Stanley Pringle, Romeo’s fellow Slash Brother, tried his best to fill the scoring gap by pouring in 27 points, while Williams had a decent PBA debut of 18 points and 19 boards. But no other Batang Pier hit double digits in scoring as Alaska’s suffocating defense held them to just 37% field goal shooting, including a dismal 3-of-23 from beyond the arc, and forced them to an eye-popping 27 turnovers.
In contrast, the Aces unleashed a balanced attack, with no player getting 30 minutes of playing time. Aside from Jefferson’s 28 and Abueva’s 15, Sonny Thoss (13) and Jake Pascual (12) also hit double digits for last year’s runners-up.
ALASKA 107 – Jefferson 28, Abueva 15, Thoss 13, Pascual 12, Galliguez 9, Banchero 8, Exciminiano 7, Enciso 6, Magat 4, Racal 3, Dela Cruz 2, Mendoza 0, Andrada 0.
GLOBALPORT 79 – Pringle 27, Williams 18, Quinahan 8, Canaleta 6, Cortez 6, Pessumal 5, Mamaril 4, Maierhofer 3, Aban 2, Pennisi 0, Paredes 0.
Quarterscores: 32-24, 59-42, 81-58, 107-79
– While GlobalPort missed Romeo, Alaska missed Vic Manuel, Dondon Hontiveros, and Noy Baclao, who all showed up in street clothes, and JVee Casio, who suited up but wasn’t fielded in by coach Alex Compton.
– Yutien Andrada, who was on GlobalPort’s roster in the Philippine Cup, is now with Alaska. He played 2:29 of garbage time, taking one shot and committing one foul.
– GlobalPort has only 12 active local players on its roster, the fewest of any team in the league.
Alaska – March 22 vs. Blackwater at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum
GlobalPort – March 25 vs. Star at the Mindanao Civic Center in Tubod