photo by PBAGAMES44
Alaska completes Quartefinals cast with dominant win over league leader NLEX
by Reynald Magallon, November 20, 2019 6:45pm
It really seemed that the Alaska Aces are peaking at the right time.
They dominated the league leading NLEX Road Warriors, 106-90, to book their spot in the playoffs and complete 2019 Governors' Cup Quarterfinals cast on Wednesday at the Ynares Center, Antipolo.
Franko House led the Aces with 24 points while five other players scored in twin digits for Alaska led by Kevin Racal's and Abu Tratter's 12 markers.
The Aces dominated right in the first quarter and never let go fo the momentum, keeping the Road Warriors at bay for the rest of the game with players like Racal, Tratter, Jvee Casio and Vic Manuel rising to the occassion providing support for House who put up 18 of his total output in the first half.
After starting the conference with a 0-5 record. Alaska seemed to finally got their bearings going and are now on four-game winning streak heading to the playoffs.
"This win tonight was really all the players just really coming in and just being ready. I challenged them to be playoff ready this week. The way were engaged, the we were focused it was as if playoff time na kami because that's how we needed to look at it," said Aces head coach Jeff Cariaso after the game
It wasn't actually the best start for the Aces as they found themselves trailing by seven, 12-5 early in the opening frame. But that proved to be the last time that the Road Warriors will get a hand on the lead as Alaska slowly pulled away courtesy of a 16-3 rally that turn the 14-7 deficit into a 23-17 advantage.
The Aces never let go of the gas pedal since then as they even erected a 22-point lead, 69-31 following a pull up jumper and two free throws from Kevin Racal at the 1:46 mark of the second frame.
NLEX showed flashes of their brilliance in the second half, cutting the lead down to below 15 points numerous times in the third frame but Vic Manuel, Robbie Herndon and Franko House delivered timely baskets for the Aces to restore order every time the Road Warriors were making their run.
The Road Warriors just refused to give up though as a Kenneth Ighalo layup triggered a 10-4 blast for NLEX after trailing by 16 points, 98-82 with 4:44 left in the game. Poi Erram capped that run to pull the Road Warriors within 12, 102-90 with 1:11 remaining.
The Aces though was simply focused to catch the last seat of the playoff bus as they kept NLEX at bay until the end of the buzzer.
Manny Harris paced the Road Warriors unloading 22 points while Erram chipped in 19 markers for the unusually sloppy NLEX who turned the ball over 19 times in the game.
NLEX who still seats atop of the standings despite the loss will be playing the NorthPort Batang Pier in the Quarterfinals while Alaska will meet the twice-to-beat MEralco Bolts in their own series.
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