Alaska erased a 20-point third quarter deficit behind a career game from Jeron Teng to turn back Terrafirma, 102-97, Saturday, Feb. 19 in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Teng scored 14 of his career-high 30 points in the fourth as the Aces, who trailed 81-61 after a lousy showing in the third, won back-to-back games since they officially started their farewell tour in the pro league.
Abu Tratter and import Olu Ashaolu were also key, but coach Jeffrey Cariaso found unlikely heroes in rookies RK Ilagan, Alec Stockton and Allyn Bulanadi as they stepped up on both ends to complete the big rally that gave the Aces their fifth victory in seven outings.
“I think us being down big was because of our poor defense and us giving them confidence ,” Cariaso said. “So I like to give credit to the guys that came off the bench because they gave us a spark and sometimes that’s what you need to get us going.”
The Aces prevailed despite having to deal with Dyip import Antonio Hester’s triple-double and rookie Joshua Munzon’s scoring prowess to stay in third place in the standings.
Terrafirma capitalized on Alaska’s cold shooting and offensive miscues to go an 11-0 run and lead 66-53 behind Hester.
JP Calvo’s triple with two minutes to go in the same period put the Dyip ahead 81-61 as the Aces’ woes continued.
But Bulanadi scored seven in a row to begin the fourth before Teng went on a roll as the Aces mounted their big turnaround to pull within a point, 94-93.
Teng then began a string of baskets, first by scoring a layup in transition that put Alaska in front for good at 95-94.
His back-to-back jumpers extended the Aces’ gap to 99-94, sending their boisterous fans who are savoring every moment being their team’s final season in ecstasy.
Teng went 13-of-18 from the field with five rebounds, two assists and three steals to produce his first 30-point game since entering the league in 2017.
Tratter had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Ashaolu shifted most of his attention on defending Hester and put up 11 points, 19 rebounds and six assists.
Bulanadi scored 10 in only his second PBA game, Ilagan made four points, four rebounds and two assists with a +17 rating in 10 minutes while Stockton added four points and intangibles that were not seen on the statsheet.
Hester’s 24 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists and Munzon’s 21 points went for naught as Terrafirma dropped to 2-5.
ALASKA 102 — Teng 30, Tratter 21, Ashaolu 11, Bulanadi 10, Ahanmisi 7, Digregorio 4, Faundo 4, Ilagan 4, Herndon 4, Stockton 4, Tolomia 3, Adamos 0, Publico 4, Racal 0.
TERRAFIRMA 97 — Hester 24, Munzon 21, Tiongson 16, Go 11, Calvo 8, Daquioag 8, Camson 4, Pascual 0, Ramos 0, Batiller 0.
Quarters: 20-25, 42-48, 66-83, 102-97.