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Alaska boots out Magnolia behind Manuel, Banchero heroics

Alaska boots out Magnolia behind Manuel, Banchero heroics

VIC Manuel scored 22 points as he led Alaska to an 89-78 win over Magnolia and a place in the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Chris Banchero and Diamon Simpson also had impressive games as the twice-to-beat Aces took just one game to oust the seventh-seeded Hotshots and reached the semifinals for the first time in two seasons.

Alaska will face the winner of the best-of-three series between TNT and San Miguel, who lead 1-0 heading to Game Two on Wednesday.

“I miss the semis,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton, who last reached the semifinals during the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup.

Manuel led a 14-3 windup to the third quarter that enabled Alaska to grab a 78-62 lead, the biggest in the contest. He also capped a 6-0 run with a jumper to put Alaska ahead, 88-78, with 1:30 left in the game.

Manuel, the Best Player of the Conference leader, shot 10 of 20 from the field and also collared nine rebounds for the Aces while Banchero had 14 points including a lay-up to beat the shotclock to hike Alaska’s lead to 86-78.

Simpson collected a double-double when he had 13 points and 15 rebounds in his second game with Alaska since replacing Antonio Campbell.

Wayne Chism had 20 points and 15 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Hotshots.

The scores:

Alaska 89 – Manuel 22, Banchero 14, Simpson 13, Thoss 11, Racal 10, Exciminiano 7, Enciso 4, Cruz 3, Teng 2, Casio 2, Baclao 1.

Magnolia 78 – Chism 20, Sangalang 14, Barroca 9, Lee 8, Jalalon 8, Simon 6, Ramos 6, Dela Rosa 5, Brondial 2, Melton 0, Reavis 0, Herndon 0.

Quarters: 26-21; 46-43; 78-62; 89-78.