By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE ALASKA Aces raced to their second straight win in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup after defeating the debuting Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, 103-80, in league action on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With all parts humming, the Aces steadily tore down the Hotshots in their first game in the midseason PBA tournament on their way to the comfortable victory that improved their card to 3-2.
The win was in follow-up to their 100-87 win over the NLEX Road Warriors previously.
Banking on fluid offense and hot shooting of its backcourt, the Aces had control of the contest at the start.
Point guard JVee Casio scored 15 of his total points in the opening half which saw Alaska taking a five-point cushion, 25-20, at the end of the first 12 minutes and making it a double-digit separation by the halftime break, 50-38.
The steady shooting of the Aces continued at the start of the third frame, keeping the Hotshots at bay.
Alaska maintained a safe distance of 16 points, 68-52, midway into the quarter as import Chris Daniel asserted himself on offense.
The Aces further stretched their lead to its biggest of 27 points, 87-60, in the next five minutes before settling for a smaller gap, 89-64, heading into the fourth quarter.
Magnolia tried to make a game out of it at the start of the final canto with an all-Filipino lineup as import John Fields struggled in his first game with the team.
It was able to cut Alaska’s lead to 21 points, 96-75, with five minutes to go but just could not make much headway after that as the Aces cruised to the win.
Mr. Daniels top-scored for the Aces with 23 points to go along with seven rebounds while Mr. Casio finished with 17 markers.
Jeron Teng had 12 points and Simon Enciso wound up with 11.
For Magnolia it was Ian Sangalang who paced with 17 points and Mark Barroca had 15 of his own.
Mr. Fields only had 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting in his Hotshots debut.
Alaska had more assists than Magnolia, 31-13, and shot better on the field 50% to 38%.
The Aces next play on June 9 against the Meralco Bolts while the Hotshots plunge back into action on June 12 versus the Northport Batang Pier.