Alaska holds off late NorthPort rally in Govs’ Cup opener

Published December 8, 2021, 5:27 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from PBA

Alaska spoiled the NorthPort debut of Arwind Santos after escaping with an 87-85 victory as the PBA Governors’ Cup fired off Wednesday, Dec. 8 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Robbie Herndon’s turnaround shot with 30.1 seconds left gave the Aces an 86-85 lead to overcome a spirited Santos-led comeback by the Batang Pier in the fourth to seal a hard-fought win.

Robert Bolick tried to get his back in the driver seat but he missed a deep three on the next play, forcing NorthPort to foul Teng who split his two charities for a two-point game.

Bolick went for a long attempt from center court that went nowhere as time expired, allowing the Aces to celebrate a result they hope can translate into a better showing than the last time.

“I guess in any conference you want to always start off on the right foot, so we’ll take any win we can,” said Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso, whose team is out to bounce back from a 3-8 campaign in the Philippine Cup.

Import Olu Ashaolu, who had short stints with NLEX in 2018 and 2019, impressed in his return with 20 points, 14 rebounds and three steals.

Teng also had an outstanding showing by producing 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting with four rebounds and three assists while Herndon added 13 points for the Aces.

Santos fired a game-high 23 points and added seven rebounds and four blocks for the Batang Pier in his first game since being traded by the San Miguel Beermen in exchange for Vic Manuel.

It was Santos who sparked the NorthPort run from a 79-69 deficit when he fired three triples from the right elbow which is his favorite spot.

NorthPort eventually took the lead at 85-84 when Slaughter converted a follow-up after Santos muffed a baseline shot with 39.2 seconds to go.

The lead didn’t last as Herndon came back to score on the ensuing possession, preventing Alaska from suffering a collapse.

Slaughter tallied with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks while import Cameron Forte put up 18 points and 15 rebounds before coach Pido Jarencio opted to field an all-Filipino five on the floor during the NorthPort run.

The scores:

ALASKA 87 — Ashaolu 20, Teng 19, Herndon 13, Taha 8, Ahanmisi 7, Tratter 6, Tolomia 6, Digregorio 5, Racal 3, Brondial 0. 

NORTHPORT 85 — Santos 23, Slaughter 18, Forte 18, Malonzo 10, Bolick 8, Rike 5, Taha 2, Doliguez 1, Balanza 0, Elorde 0, Grey 0, Ferrer 0.

Quarters: 19-18, 41-39, 68-60, 87-85.