MANILA — The Alaska Aces bounced back from a rough Philippine Basketball Association season debut by blasting the Columbian Dyip, 94-72, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Wednesday night.
Alaska led from wire to wire, shutting Columbian down in the first and the third quarters before opening a 30-point lead in the final period.
Carl Cruz, who was seldom used last season, dropped 20 points, nine rebounds, one assist, and one block for the Aces, who scored their first win for 2019.
Jake Pascual added 13 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, one block, and one assist, while Ping Exciminiano contributed 12 markers, one rebound, two dimes, and two steals for the Alex Compton-mentored squad.
CJ Perez put up 15 markers, five boards, one dime, and one swipe for the Dyip, who fell to 2-4.
Rashawn McCarthy, one of the Dyip’s key players last season, was held to just two points, although he also had six rebounds, five assists, and one steal.
Columbian struggled heavily, only making 36 percent of its field goals and more measly 37 percent of its free throws.
Alaska, on the other hand, was fluid offensively, assisting on 23 made field goals against only eight turnovers.
In the nightcap, Alex Cabagnot walked away a winner in his comeback game as the San Miguel Beermen dumped the Blackwater Elite, 93-79.
San Miguel turned things around in the last three quarters as Cabagnot’s return from a hamstring injury turned out to be a huge boost for the defending champion.
Blackwater was actually engaging SMB in a tight showdown come the first quarter with the former holding a 21-19 lead at the end of the period.
The Beermen, however, slowly took over beginning in the second quarter, when they entered halftime ahead, 44-41.
They then went full blast in the second half, scoring 30 points in the third quarter before limiting the Elite to just 15 points in the final frame.
SMB even led by as much as 21 points, 87-66, midway through the fourth before settling for the 14-point lead in the end.
June Mar Fajardo put up a 20-20 game, finishing with 21 rebounds and 20 points alongside five assists, four blocks, and one steal for the Beermen, who moved back to .500 at 3-3, tying the TNT KaTropa in fourth place.
Cabagnot, on the other hand, finished with 19 points, one board, five dimes, one steal, and one block.
Terrence Romeo added 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, and one block, while Chris Ross chipped in 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals.
Roi Sumang put up 17 markers, five caroms, six assists, two steals, and one block for the Elite, but he went 7-of-19 from the field.
Overall, they only made 31 percent of their field goals with the Beermen getting a total of 16 blocks.
Alaska 94 – Cruz 20, Pascual 13, Exciminiano 12, Banchero 10, Potts 9, Teng 8, Ayaay 8, Baclao 6, Thoss 4, Galliguez 4.
Columbian 72 – Perez 15, Corpuz 12, Khobuntin 8, Cabrera 6, Reyes 5, Escoto 5, Gabriel 5, Cahilig 4, Camson 4, Calvo 4, McCarthy 2, Tabi 2, Agovida 0.
Quarters: 20-13, 46-36, 68-50, 94-72.
San Miguel 93 – Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 19, Romeo 17, Ross 14, Nabong 7, Lassiter 6, Santos 4, Tubid 2, Lanete 2, De Ocampo 2, Mamaril 0, Zamar 0, Vigil 0.
Blackwater 79 – Sumang 17, Digregorio 14, Maliksi 13, Javier 9, Tratter 9, Belo 8, Desiderio 4, Eriobu 4, Banal 1, Sena 0, Cortez 0, Palma 0, Dario 0.
Quarters: 19-29, 44-41, 74-64, 93-79. (PNA)