PBA: Quick start propels Alaska to big win over Blackwater

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2020 09:36 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2020 10:24 PM

Alaska big man Abu Tratter puts up a shot against Blackwater. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) -- The Alaska Aces raced off to a quick start en route to a 120-82 demolition of the Blackwater Elite, Tuesday at the AUF Gym in Angeles City, Pampanga.

The Aces scored the first nine points of the game and took their first double-digit lead, 15-4, off a Barkley Ebona bucket with 8:52 to play in the first quarter. It was all Alaska from there as they built a commanding 38-17 advantage at the end of the opening frame.

Ebona, the rookie big man out of Far Eastern University, led the way for the Aces with 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting, while Robbie Herndon had 21 points. Jeron Teng submitted an all-around game of 11 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. 

Vic Manuel (16), Abu Tratter (14), and Mike DiGregorio (12) all reached double-digits in the wire-to-wire win. 

"I feel like we grew up a little bit each and every game as we progressed," Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso said after the game, which saw them commit just seven turnovers after averaging over 21 in their first three contests. "Our defense improved a little bit more as we progressed, and that's really all you can ask for when you’re in this kind of situation."

With the huge victory, Alaska improved to 2-2 in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup after racking up their second consecutive victory.

Alaska's dominant first quarter set the tone for the game. They made 14 of 20 shots in the opening period, and held Blackwater to just seven field goals. The Elite managed to trim the deficit to 18 points, 58-40, at the half, but their vaunted third quarter storm never came. 

Instead, Alaska kept pouring it on in the third period, leading by as much as 32 points, 81-49, following a layup by Vic Manuel.

Blackwater had averaged 35 points in the third quarter of their previous three games, but Alaska only allowed them to score 21.

"We knew coming into this game that the third quarter is big for them," said Cariaso. "That needed to be respected, kasi hindi siya accident. We were just trying to stay disciplined doon sa game plan namin, and we're happy that we did."

The Alaska lead stretched to 41 points in the fourth quarter, 114-73, after an Abel Galliguez triple with five minutes left to play.

The losing margin of 38 points was tied for the worst in the history of the Blackwater franchise. They also lost 127-89 to TNT in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup, and 123-85 to Rain or Shine in the 2015 PBA Governors' Cup.

Meanwhile, for Alaska it was their biggest margin of victory since a 101-63 rout of Kia -- now the TerraFirma franchise -- during the 2015 PBA Governors' Cup. 

The Elite dropped to 2-2 in the bubble. Ed Daquioag scored 18 points in a losing effort for Blackwater.