Calvin Abueva was among the lead forces as the Alaska Milk Aces snapped a four-game losing streak from last season with a sustained solid game throughout leading to a 103-98 win over the Meralco Bolts in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
The Aces played with a staying power that they didn't have in their first two games in PBA Season 43, thus, finally breaking into the win-column following back-to-back losses to the Magnolia Hotshots and the TNT KaTropaTexters.
Meralco, meanwhile, suffered a second straight loss after winning its first game in the season versus Blackwater.
"We talked about starting the year with a clean slate. And it's nice to see everybody stepping up on the floor," said Alaska coach Alex Compton.
"The defense was way better (from our previous games). We played hard before but it's not as hard as tonight. We worked hard but it's not as hard," Compton pointed out.
With a determined effort, the Aces set the tone of the match early, taking the opening quarter at 26-16, the half at 53-39, and the team held on to the finish.
Abueva and Vic Manuel top scored with 19 points apiece, Chris Banchero contributed 13 while JeronTeng, Jvee Casio and Kevin Racal added eight each.
While the Bolts were waging their last stand in the fourth quarter, Racal banged in back-to-back treys in a breakthrough performance.
"Those were huge treys he made while also helping us to play tough defense," said Compton.
Abueva was solid all throughout, and his great intensity obviously rubbed off on his teammates.
The match was marred by couples of technical infractions, including the double-technical fouls committed by Abueva and Jared Dillinger in the third quarter.
It was a virtual repeat of their clash also on Jan. 10 four years ago.
Chris Newsome led his team with 23 points that went with six boards and four assists against four turnovers.
Meanwhile, known for his hard work and devil-may-care attitude, Marc Pingrisof Magnolia is one player who doesn't mind getting hurt.
Last night 's game against Kia Picanto was no exception for the many-time All-Defensive Team member, who suffered a cut near the kisser after an accidental hit by Jackson Corpuz. Magnolia won, 124-77.
Pingris quickly shrugged off the incident, knowing that it's all part of the game.
The former Gilas Pilipinas standout is no stranger to injury.
Late last year, Pingris suffered a broken bone in his waist area he sustained in Game 6 of the Star-Ginebra best-of-seven semi-finals series that sidelined him for five months.
For Pingris, neither injury nor a nasty cuts could stop him from playing all-out every game.*pba.com
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