Hardly practicing with a complete lineup, the Alaska Milk Aces pulled a surprise with a 114-98 rout of the TNT Tropang Texters in Day Two of the 2015-16 Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night.
The Aces got off to a swashbuckling start in the season, overwhelming the Commissioner’s Cup titleholders with a sustained torrid shooting.
Firing almost at will, the Aces broke away early and thoroughly dominated what was expected to be a battle versus the Tropang Texters and their much-talked-about rookies Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario.
TNT scored the game’s first six points before being torched by Alaska’s fiery game.
“I didn’t see it coming,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton, himself surprised with their lopsided win.
“They caused us great worry. Obviously, we made some shots. We had contribution all over, and probably, we caught them in their off night,” Compton also said.
Compton gave credit to his coaching staff, saying they prepared the team for this particular game.
“I was away for two months. At nandon lang ako kanina for a front-seat view of the good work of my team,” said Compton.
“I’m blessed with tremendous coaching staff. (Team owner) Fred (Uytengsu) knows that. And so while we committed to the national team wholeheartedly, there’s no feeling our team would fall apart,” Compton also said.
Though also away for much of the off-season, Sonny Thoss, Calvin Abueva and Dondon Hontiveros put in much contribution in the team’s auspicious start in the tourney where they finished second behind San Miguel Beer last year.
The Aces churned out a well balanced game, and pummeled a TNT side that banked heavily on Ranidel de Ocampo, Jayson Castro and Larry Fonacier.
The three combined for 75 percent of TNT’s output.
Tautuaa and Rosario, the top two picks in the recent Rookie Draft, were held to merely six points together.
Nonetheless, Compton believed “they will be great players for a long time.”
Firing on all cylinders, the Aces led by 20 at 42-22 in the first half and roared on, enjoying a 21-point spread at 104-83 before eventually completing the rout.
Vic Manuel, fresh from a stint with the Manila North team that made the quarterfinals of the FIBA 3×3 World Final, came through with a double-double game with 22 points and 10 rebounds while Thoss, Abueva, Jvee Casio and Chris Banchero put in at least 14 points each.
The Aces were just too hot to handle with a 52-percent shooting.
“I don’t think we had shot that much and scored that much since I started coaching the team,” said Compton. (SB)