Alaska’s offense erupted right from the onset while its defense finally ended Blackwater’s string of third quarter outbursts and rolled to a 120-82 victory Tuesday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Rookie big man Barkley Ebona produced his best game yet, scoring 24 points to lead a near-flawless performance that allowed the Aces to register the biggest winning margin after 11 days inside the PBA bubble.
Ebona’s performance came at the expense of Blackwater coach Nash Racela, his former mentor during his UAAP days with Far Eastern University.
Four other players scored in double figures, most notably Robbie Herndon with 21 points on five threes and Vic Manuel with 16 points as Alaska won back-to-back games after starting the conference with losses to TNT and Meralco.
Coach Jeffrey Cariaso saw his team’s offense play beyond its average of 87.7 points in the first three games.
The Aces took the fight out the Elite after the opening tip and led 38-17 in the first quarter with Ebona and Manuel combining for 17.
They went into the locker room up, 58-40, and entered the third with Ebona and Mike DiGregorio combining for 19 as Alaska finished the quarter well ahead, 90-61.
Defense proved to be a key factor in that period as the Aces limited the Elite to just 21 points.
Blackwater, which fell to 2-2, averaged 35 points in the third through the previous three outings.
“We knew coming into this game that the third quarter is big for them. They have the young legs and they have the capabilities of putting up more points and that needed to be respected,” said Cariaso, whose Aces held the Elite to a 22.2 percent clip in the third.
The Aces led by a high of 41 points (114-73) to post their biggest victory since a 101-63 rout of the Kia Carnival (Terrafirma Dyip) in the 2015 Governors’ Cup.
The lead was so big that every Alaska player, even the debuting Maverick Ahanmisi after entering the bubble late, managed to score at least two points.
Ed Daquioag had 18 points while Mike Tolomia had 10 as other reliables were non-existent in the loss that equaled the franchise’s biggest losing margin.
Don Trollano was held to six points and two rebounds after averaging 19.3 points and 10.3 rebounds coming into the match while Roi Sumang could only produce two points and two assists for the Elite.
ALASKA 120 — Ebona 24, Herndon 21, Manuel 16, Tratter 14, DiGregorio 12, Teng 11, Casio 7, Galliguez 3, Brondial 2, Andrada 2, Ayaay 2, Publico 2, Marcelino 2, Ahanmisi 2.
BLACKWATER 98 — Daquioag 18, Tolomia 10, Canaleta 9, Salem 9, Trollano 6, Dennison 6, Gabriel 6, Belo 5, Dario 3, Sumang 2, Golla 2, Escoto 1, Magat 0.
Quarters: 38-17, 58-40, 90-61, 120-98.