The Alaska made sure that they would take the simplest route to the Playoffs. They easily beat the NLEX Road Warriors, 106-90 to win their fourth straight game and fifth in the last six games. After starting the conference 0-5, they finish with a 5-6 record to take the seventh spot in the playoffs. NLEX remains on top with an 8-3 slate.
Alaska got a big game from nearly everyone on the roster. Six players finished in double figures as the Aces showcased their balanced offensive attack. Frank House led the way with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Jvee Casio, Kevin Racal and Abu Tratter scored 12 points each while Robbie Herndon and Vic Manuel added 10 apiece. Manny Harris had 22 points and nine rebounds to lead NLEX.
Alaska didn’t play around to start the game. With a spot in the next round on the line, they took control of the game in the first period. Down five midway through the period, Herndon teamed up with Simon Enciso as the two scored 10 points in a 12-0 run to reclaim the lead. House and Manuel then pounded the ball in the paint as Alaska closed the period on a 10-2 run to take a 10-point lead.
In the second period, Casio and House teamed up to power the Aces offense, putting them ahead by 14 points. Then the bench mob with Rodney Brondial, Maverick Ahanmisi and Racal went on a 9-0 run to put Alaska up by 21. Alaska didn’t look back after that. They maintained a safe lead all the way to the end, leading by as much as 22 points in the contest.
In the second game, the TNT KaTropa survived a stiff challenge from an undermanned San Miguel Beermen squad to take a hard-fought 114-109 win. TNT claims the third seed heading into the Quarterfinals with a 7-3 record while San Miguel drops to fifth with a 6-5 slate.
KJ McDaniels played big for TNT on both ends of the floor. He had a game-high 44 points and chipped in numbers in nearly every category. McDaniels had 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and four blocks to round out his line. Troy Rosario also had a big performance. He scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help out his import. John Holland had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead San Miguel.
TNT erupted for a big first quarter performance. McDaniels and Rosario waxed hot from the field. They were hitting from nearly everywhere on the floor, leading the KaTropa to a lead as high as 17 points before settling for a 12-point lead heading to the second period.
The Beermen played catch-up for most of the game after that first quarter eruption. San Miguel made their big run in the second period, cutting TNT’s lead to just seven points heading to the break. They weathered scoring storms from the KaTropa and got to within one midway through the fourth. But McDaniels and Rosario had the answers. The two found their range from beyond the arc to keep TNT ahead. The KaTropa also got key stops in the endgame to stay ahead all the way to the end.