The Alaska Aces knew they were coming into this game small and executed their game plan to a tee, speeding by the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings 101-86, foiling any attempts of a “Never Say Die” comeback along the way.
Without Sonny Thoss, the Aces were left without a true big-man and had to rely on small-ball strategies to beat the relatively bigger Ginebra. Play after play, the Aces ran the floor and attacked at every opportunity. This forced the Ginebra lineup to try and keep up the pace as well, but the intensity and pace of Alaska eventually caught up with them, creating scoring problems for the newly crowned Governor’s Cup champions, leaving them in the rear view mirrors of the fast and furious Alaska Aces.
Calvin Abueva was the motor that kept the Alaska speed machine going. After going scoreless in the second half of his last game, Abueva led a third quarter scoring surge that allowed him to finish with 12 points on 60% field goal shooting. To make matters worse for Ginebra, RJ Jazul led Alaska’s charge from the perimeter, hitting five of Alaska’s 12 three pointers in the game. It was here that the Aces began to pull away, swarming the paint each time Ginebra attempted a layup while fighting for loose balls on both ends. Even when a Ginebra player would get the rebound, a red shirt would try to pry it away from them, forcing a turnover and getting the transition opportunity.
Meanwhile Ginebra struggled offensively all game long, finishing the game at 39% from the field while Alaska lit it up at 51%. However, Ginebra was able to find some offense from the line but it simply wasn’t enough. Alaska’s up tempo style of play caused problems for Ginebra’s top players, including LA Tenorio who finished without a point. Only Joe Devance was able to score in double digits while maintaining a field goal percentage of higher than 50%.
Despite having out-rebounded Alaska, Ginebra was too bothered by the pace and intensity to set up their offense. Only their younger players in Kevin Ferrer who led them with 19 points, and Japeth Aguilar were able to pull through the breakneck speed at which the red shirts were forcing them to play.
The win puts Alaska tied for third with a 3 and 2 record while Ginebra drops to 2 and 3.