by Jonas Terrado
Games Today (Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
4:30 p.m. – TNT KaTropa vs Rain or Shine
6:45 p.m. – Alaska vs Ginebra
Jvee Casio and Kevin Racal made immediate impacts in their return as Alaska trounced Meralco, 92-77, to snap a three-game skid and keep its quarterfinals bid alive in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Casio had 12 points while Racal added nine off the bench as the Aces took control of the second half to move in a tie for sixth place with the NLEX Road Warriors at 4-5.
“It’s nice to see Jvee and Kevin back,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton. “They’re obviously a little bit rusty and out of shape but Jvee and K-Racs made some plays like they usually does.”
Both made their first appearance since losing to Magnolia in the Governors’ Cup Finals last December with Casio nursing a foot problem while Racal was dealing with a back issue.
The win enhanced Alaska’s chances of making the top eight with two games left in the eliminations.
Alaska battles San Miguel Beer on Sunday before facing NorthPort on March 27.
The Aces were able to regain their winning form after being clobbered by an average of 17 points by Magnolia, NLEX and TNT KaTropa.
Simon Enciso, Sonny Thoss, Carl Bryan Cruz and Noy Baclao conspired to help the Aces turn a 45-42 lead to 60-44 in the third, thus ending the competitive phase of the match.
Jeron Teng had 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists, Enciso scored 14 and veteran center Thoss earned praises from Compton after posting 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Magnolia came back from a 10-point deficit in the third to beat NorthPort, 103-90, to stay on track in the quarterfinal race of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Paul Lee bucked a sore right knee to score 24 points while Rodney Brondial, Justin Melton and Rafi Reavis played key roles on both ends as Magnolia forged a three-way share of sixth place with NLEX and Alaska at 4-5.
Brondial had 14 points and four rebounds, Melton produced 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals and Reavis grabbed 10 boards for the Hotshots.
The Hotshots overcame a 75-65 in the third as their defense was able to frustrate the Batang Pier, whose chances of making the playoffs dwindle after a sixth consecutive loss.
NorthPort, despite 22 points from Sean Anthony and 19 points and 16 rebounds from Mo Tautuaa, fell to 2-6.
ALASKA 92 – Teng 16, Enciso 14, Banchero 13, Thoss 13, Casio 12, Racal 9, Cruz 7, Pascual 6, Baclao 2, Exciminiano 0, Ayaay 0.
MERALCO 77 – Salva 23, Canaleta 18, Newsome 11, Amer 8, Quinto 5, Tolomia 4, Hodge 3, Hugnatan 2, Pinto 2, Jackson 1, Caram 0, Faundo 0.
Quarters: 20-16, 45-38, 69-57, 92-77.
Magnolia 103 – Lee 24, Sangalang 20, Brondial 14, Jalalon 11, Barroca 11, Melton 11, Dela Rosa 5, Reavis 5, Herndon 2, Pascual 0.
Northport 90 – Anthony 22, Tautuaa 19, Pringle 15, Grey 14, Lanete 8, Guinto 4, Elorde 3, Bolick 3, Taha 2, Gabayni 0, Sollano 0.
Quarters: 33-25, 53-59, 76-82, 103-90.