The Alaska Aces proved steadier in the clutch to beat the NLEX Road Warriors, 122-119, in overtime yesterday, Monday, November 9, 2020 at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena & Cultural Center Powered by Smart 5G.
The Aces got a big lift from Maverick Ahanmisi, who played his best game in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, to give the Aces a big push in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Ahanmisi finished with a double-double of 25 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals to win Player of the Game honors.
“We just wanted to come out and play aggressive. We knew how big this game was. We just wanted to come out strong against a very tough NLEX Road Warriors team,” said Ahanmisi in the post-game interview.
The Aces (7 wins, 4 losses), who closed out their elimination round schedule ahead of all the other teams, climbed to solo fourth place behind TNT Tropang Giga (7-3), Barangay Ginebra (7-3) and Phoenix Super LPG (7-3).
The Aces thus formally advanced to the 8-team Quarterfinals and stayed in the hunt for a possible twice-to-beat advantage if they end up in the top 4 after the eliminations.
In the other game Phoenix came back from the dead overhauling a 16-point deficit to beat Blackwater Elite, 100-95.
Trailing from the start Phoenix finally listened to the exhortations of coach Topex Robinson to grab the lead for good after a layup by Matthew Wright which pushed them ahead 81-79 with seven minutes left to play.
Robinson said he reminded his players to play to their potential regardless of who they were playing against.
“We talked about accountability. Accountability is everybody’s responsibility. We have to keep our culture from who we are and what we stand for. They just kept on talking and talking and communicating and finding ways to win because they know that they are accountable to what we are trying to build here,” said Robinson.
With Alaska’s victory San Miguel Beer (6-4), Meralco Bolts (6-4) and Magnolia Hotshots (6-4) also formally advanced to the next stage. The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (5-4) gained at least a tie for the last spot in the Quarterfinals.
The Road Warriors (4-6) were pushed to the brink of elimination and will bow out if Elasto Painters win one of their last two games.
Blackwater Elite (2-8), NorthPort Batang Pier (1-8) and Terrafirma Dyip (1-8) have already been eliminated days before.
Kiefer Ravena, pressed by the Alaska close out, missed a three-pointer at the buzzer as the third quarter ended at 75-all.
Jvee Casio drilled three-of-three free throws to push Alaska to a two-point, 81-79 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Maverick Ahanmisi drilled back-to-back three-pointers to push Alaska ahead by three points, 87-84. Jeron Teng followed that with a jumper to extend the advantage to 5 markers, 89-84, with 8 minutes to play.
The Road Warriors were red-hot from distance. Jericho Cruz and JR Quiñahan each scored a triple to tie the count at 93-all with 6 minutes to go.
Robbie Herndon proved steady under pressure converting a three-pointer at the buzzer to push Alaska ahead by four points, 103-99, with 2 minutes to play in regulation.
Jvee Casio converted a layup to tie the count at 108-all with seconds to go in regulation period. He missed a layup at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
Mike DiGregorio drove past Kiefer Ravena to convert a layup plus the bonus free throw to push Alaska ahead, 111-108, with 3:39 in OT.
Kevin Alas converted two-of-two free throws to tie the count at 111-all with three to go in OT.
Maverick Ahanmisi followed up his own miss to push Alaska back on top but JR Quiñahan countered with his own to tie the count at 113-all in OT.
Alaska Aces 122 – Maverick Ahanmisi 25, Jvee Casio 19, Abu Tratter 16, Robbie Herndon 14, Jeron Teng 13, Mike DiGregorio 11, Vic Manuel 11, Rodney Brondial 8, MJ Ayaay 5, Barkley Eboña 0.
NLEX Road Warriors 119 – Kiefer Ravena 30, JR Quiñahan 24, Jericho Cruz 18, Kevin Alas 13, Mike Miranda 9, Raul Soyud 9, Anthony Semerad 8, Kenneth Ighalo 5, Paul Varilla 3, Kris Porter 0, Myke Ayonayon 0.
Quarter scores: 17-23, 53-49, 75-75, 108-108, 122-119 OT.