The Alaska Aces needed an extra game and period to make it to the Quarterfinals. They took care of business, taking down the Merlaco Bolts in OT, 108-103. Alaska takes the last seat on the Playoff train, with the eighth spot.
Vic Manuel had a solid game at the right time. He came off the bench to lead Alaska with 23 points on 55% shooting. Diamon Simpson scored 23 points and grabbed 23 rebounds. Chris Banchero scored 15 points and had the clutch shot to send the game to OT. Delroy James led Meralco with 34 points.
Banchero was clutch in the end game for Alaska. Meralco looked like they had enough of a cushion with 20 seconds left after Chris Newsome gave them a four-point lead. But Banchero quickly cut that lead down to just one with a big triple in the next possession. Newsome split his free throws after Alaska fouled to stop the clock, putting his team up by two with six seconds left.
That was enough time for Banchero to conjure up an equalizer. He inbounded the ball to Simpson and immediately got it back. His driving lanes were cut so he was forced to throw up a turnaround jumper that splashed in with a second left to send the game to OT.
In the extra period, the locals of Alaska took over. Manuel scored on back-to-back baskets to put the Aces up by two. Jeron Teng scored on a layup inside to increase Alaska’s lead. Jvee Casio and Banchero iced the game with free throws, sending the Aces through to the next stage.
Photo from the PBA