Alaska refused to roll over and die in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals after running away with a one-sided 125-104 Game 3 win over San Miguel Beer on Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Beermen still lead the best-of-five affair, 2-1, with Game 4 set on Sunday.
The Aces flipped the switch in the second half, going on a 17-3 barrage to close out the third period and enter the fourth with a comfortable 94-77 lead.
They were pretty much in control after that, except when the Beermen bunched together a few points to come to within 13 points after Brian Heruela layup in transition, 113-100.
But Vic Manuel came up big anew. He refused to panic and responded by dropping four straight points to restore order.
Manuel was efficient as usual. He wound up with 24 points, six rebounds, two assists, and three steals in almost 18 minutes of play.
Import Diamon Simpson added 21 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks, while JVee Casio came up with 15 points, built on three triples, two rebounds, and five assists.
It was a nip-and-tuck contest at the onset. But Alaska’s bench stepped up in the ensuing quarter and the Aces retreated to the dugout at halftime with a 64-55 buffer.
Alaska refused to ease on the gas pedal and even led by as much as 23 points after Simon Enciso jumper with eight minutes remaining in the match.
Renaldo Balkman couldn’t do anything but watch his team go down without a fight. He paced the Beermen with 28 points and 11 boards.
June Mar Fajardo chipped in 18 points and 15 rebonds. Christian Standhardinger had 10 points.
Alaska 125 – Manuel 24, Simpson 21, Casio 15, Enciso 10, Exciminiano 9, Baclao 9, Racal 8, J. Pascual 7, Galliguez 7, Teng 6, Cruz 5, Thoss 4.
San Miguel 104 – Balkman 28, Fajardo 18, Standhardinger 10, Ross 9, Lassiter 9, Cabagnot 8, Heruela 8, Lanete 6, Nabong 5, Santos 3.
Quarterscores: 27-25, 64-55, 94-77, 125-104.
Alaska’s bench outscored Beermen’s in the first half, 33-12, which allowed the Aces to take a 64-55 lead at halftime.
Diamon Simpson appeared to have hurt his ankle on a drive early in the game. But returned to join forces with Manuel in taking the much-needed victory.
Renaldo Balkman did not play in the fourth quarter.
Game 4 on Sunday, July 22 at Smart-Araneta Coliseum