Even with a depleted a line-up, Alaska still kept a good momentum heading to the opening of the PBA Governors’ Cup after hammering out a 96-87 decision over Barangay Ginebra in their tune-up game on Thursday at the Gatorade Hoops Gym in Mandaluyong.
Sans key guys Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel and Kevin Racal, who were all nursing minor injuries, the Aces managed to keep the Kings at bay throughout the game while putting the clamps on comebacking big man Greg Slaughter.
Seeing competitive action for the first time in 10 months, Slaughter was held down to just 5 points as a visibly out-of-rhythm Ginebra side struggled in its initial build-up in defending its season-ending conference title.
“I think yung start namin very sluggish, it’s expected, it’s a good thing we were able to recover a little bit pero kulang pa rin sa hangin sa finish line,” said Ginebra assistant coach Richard del Rosario, who temporarily took the coaching reins from multi-titled mentor Tim Cone.
Cone is currently in the United States for the NBA Summer League.
The Kings trailed by as many as 16 points but are using the tuneup match as a way to fine tune things out since just regrouping in practice last week.
Import LaDontae Henton led Alaska after pumping 23 points while veteran shooter Dondon Hontiveros added 14.
Athletic forward Japeth Aguilar topscored for the Kings with 18 markers, but did not return in the final frame anymore with a banged-up leg, while returning reinforcement Justin Brownlee chipped in 13.
Ginebra will play Star in its next tuneup game next week.
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ALASKA 96 – Henton 23, Hontiveros 14, Magat 12, Banchero 10, Enciso 8, Exciminiano 7, Galliguez 6, Pascual 6, Thoss 4, Casio 3, Andrada 2, Baclao 1
GINEBRA 87 – Aguilar 18, Brownlee 13, Tenorio 9, Mercado 9, Thompson 9, Helterbrand 6, Taha 6, Marcelo 5, Slaughter 5, Cruz 3, Ellis 2, Mariano 2, Caguioa 0
Quarterscores: 22-10, 52-36, 73-65, 96-87