Alaska beats Meralco for first win of the season


MANILA — The Alaska Aces bid goodbye to their forgettable showing last year as they nailed their first win of the season, beating the Meralco Bolts, 103-88, in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Showing grit and renewed composure, the Aces led all the way to break into the win column after losing their first two games. The Bolts suffered their second loss in three games.

Playing in “Beast” mode, Calvin Abueva joined Vic Manuel in leading Alaska, both firing 19 points apiece. Abueva also collected nine rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 23 minutes while a revitalized-looking Manuel added four boards, and one assist in 24 minutes off the bench.

Chris Banchero added 13 points. It was Kevin Racal, however, who made the biggest splash late in the game after he drilled back-to-back three-pointers to turn back a furious Meralco rally. Racal finished with eight points, the same output produced by Jvee Casio and rookie Jeron Teng.

Chris Newsome led Meralco in a losing effort with 23 points, six rebounds, and four assists.

Magnolia 124, Kia 77

The Magnolia Hotshots pulverized the Kia Picanto, winning by 47 points, 124-77, bouncing back from their Manila Clasico loss against the Barangay Ginebra Kings on Dec. 25.

The Hotshots improved to a 2-1 win-loss record as they once again gave the totally outclassed Picanto their worst beating in franchise history. On Sept. 22, 2017 in the last Governors’ Cup, the Hotshots also defeated the Picanto in exactly the same 47-point winning margin, 128-81.

Magnolia only showed its devastating firepower in the third quarter when it outscored Kia, 34-11. Kia even took a seven-point lead in the first half and was still up, 49-47, at halftime.

But the Hotshots came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter, quickly snuffing out Kia’s hopes of an improbable upset to the dismay of new Picanto coach Ricky Dandan.

Justin Melton came off the bench to lead Magnolia with 23 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and one steal in 26 minutes. Ian Sangalang also dished out his A-game, churning out 21 points, nine boards, two assists, and two steals in 25 minutes, also off the bench.

Rookie Robbie Herndon added 14 markers while Paul Lee chipped in 13, all scored in the third quarter when he led the Hotshots’ monstrous breakaway.

Jio Jalalon played his first game of the season after recovering from knee injury, contributing 11 points, the same output produced by PJ Simon.

The game saw Magnolia’s Marc Pingris getting bloodied with a nasty cut near the nose after a collision with Kia forward Jackson Corpuz, who likewise limped off the game after suffering an apparent arm injury after trying to block a Jalalon breakaway layup.

Jay-R Reyes led Kia with 12 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and one block in 37 minutes in a losing effort.

Games Friday: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters vs. GlobalPort Batang Pier and Barangay Ginebra Kings vs. Blackwater Elite.