The Alaska Aces finally breaks into the win column and notches first win against Barako Bull.
ALASKA coach Joel Banal knew his team is in for a breakthrough win.
He was proven right and none more pleasant than a 93-72 victory over erstwhile streaking Barako Bull
Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Sonny Thoss scored a career-high 27 points on top of 13 rebounds and had plenty of support in
Alaska’s first win after starting the season with five straight losses.
The Aces catching the Energy on a bad night also did not hurt any and Banal said his belief started
taking on more concrete form when his players came charging out of the break and wrested full
control as early as the third period.
“In the second half we did things right,” said Banal, whose Aces faced a 36-40 deficit at the turn.
“We controlled the offense and we kept our aggressiveness in defense. In the first half it was the
other way around.”
Banal’s charges dropped a 75-81 decision to Meralco their last time out but he still believed they
were in for a win.
“Based on practices, this was the result,” he said. “I hope we don’t feel relief because it’s not
gonna be good for us. Hopefully we can go back in practice and continue what we’ve been doing the
Rookie Dylan Ababou scored a team-high 19 points to lead the off-the-bench players who tried to
carry the fight for Barako Bull when its starters struggled. None among Danny Seigle, Paul Artadi,
Willie Miller, Jondan Salvador and Mick Pennisi breached the nine-point barrier.
Don Allado and Sunday Salvacion tried to compensate by combining for 21 points but their efforts
still proved futile and Barako saw its conference-best streak snapped, due mainly to the Energy’s
dismal field shooting in the second half.
As a team, the Energy made just 11 of 37 from the field in the last 24 minutes and wound up going
26-for-72 for 36.1 percent, way below their conference average of 42.2 percent, third-best among the
So sour was Barako Bull’s shooting that, at one point during a timeout in the fourth period, head
coach Junel Baculi walked over and looked at his team’s goal, then shook his head as if wondering
whether it had a cover.
“I felt it’s their due,” said Banal. “After four big wins against four big teams, I felt they were
overconfident. They were not playing as well as they did in first four games. I thought if we can
play well we can win this one.”
In contrast, Alaska made half of their 76 shots for the dramatic turnaround for a team averaging
just 74.6 points per contest going into the game, worst in the conference.
“We were not making our shots because we were overeager,” related Banal. “Tonight, we got our tempo
in the second half, controlling it and, if we have the numbers, attacking. If we don’t, we’re
setting the triangle, moving the ball.”
Marnel Baracael, another rookie, scored 16 points off the bench, LA Tenorio added 15 points, a
game-high nine assists and seven rebounds and four of the six other Aces Banal fielded scored at
least eight points.
Still, it was clearly Thoss who showed the way, starting in the third period that saw him scatter
nine of his points off four shots, by himself equalling the entire Barako field goals in the
That resulted in Alaska’s sustained charge from a 36-40 deficit and and into as much as a pair of
nine-point leads before the Aces brought a 61-54 cushion into the fourth. (NC)
ALASKA 93 – Thoss 27, Baracael 16, Tenorio 15, Baguio 10, Dela Cruz 9, Reyes 8, Cablay 8, Custodio
0, Eman 0.
BARAKO 72 – Ababou 19, Allado 11, Salvacion 10, Seigle 9, Artadi 6, Miller 5, Salvador 4, Pena 4,
Pennisi 2, Arboleda 2, Sorongon 0, Avenido 0.