Aces turn back Texters
MANILA, Philippines - Alaska Milk asserted itself at the paint against an import-less Talk n Text side and carved out a 103-91 win to move up to joint third place with San Miguel Beer in the PBA PLDT Home Telpad Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
The Aces seized control towards the end of the first half on a 17-point turnaround and roared on in the final half to give Alex Compton a triumphant debut as PBA head coach.
Alaska thus caught up with San Miguel at second place at 2-1 while Talk n Text slid to joint fifth with San Mig Coffee at 1-1.
Obviously, things became a lot easier for the Aces with the Texters playing minus import Othyus Jeffers and gunner KG Canaleta.
Jeffers was sidelined by a contractual problem with his NBA team the Minnesota Timberwolves. At press time, he had yet to get his clearance from the Timberwolves. During Talk n Text’s first game in the season-ending tourney, Jeffers was allowed to play on a temporary clearance from the FIBA.
With not so much minutes, Henry Walker churned out a solid all-around effort with 27 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds as the Aces rebounded from their 91-95 upset of the Globalport Batang Pier the last time out.
“I just tried to be aggressive and played the game. That’s the key,” said Walker.
“There’s nothing much adjustment after the coaching change. We still have the same program or stuffs. We just put up the right effort that we didn’t have the last time,” added Walker.
Actually, it took sometime for Alaska to get its game going. But as soon as they hit their stride, there were no stopping the Aces from dominating the Texters.
Alaska made a big 17-point turnaround in the first half, rallying from an early 12-point deficit and storming to a five-point lead, 54-49, at the turn.
The Aces trailed from the start until Jayvee Casio drained a long two from the right corner to push them ahead at 44-42 with 3:30 left in the second period.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra and Air21 fight for the solo lead even as Meralco recall old import Mario West in its bid to check its slump versus San Mig Coffee at resumption of action tonight.
The Kings and the Express both shoot for win No. 3 as they clash at 8 p.m. after the 5:45 p.m. tiff between the Bolts and the Mixers.
Ginebra is off to a 2-0 start playing a new system under coach Jeff Cariaso while Air21 has appeared to be riding some momentum from its breakthrough feat last conference, also winning its first two games in the season-ending tourney – a franchise first.
“We need to make sure that their big guys won’t dominate us,” said Air21 coach Franz Pumaren, acknowledging that his team is the underdog in the game.