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Aces face tough road ahead

by Jerome Lagunzad

Alaska coach Alex Compton and the rest of the Aces finally regained that winning feeling after five months of futility when they scored an upset victory over the mighty San Miguel Beermen.

Their 90-79 victory, fashioned out before a stunned Saturday night crowd inside the Angeles University Foundation gym in Angeles City, Pampanga, ended the Aces’ 14-game losing streak – the decorated franchise’s worst – dating back to the elimination round of the Commissioner’s Cup.

ALASKA’s Calvin Abueva protects the ball from San Miguel import Terik Bridgeman as teammate Ledontae Henton looks on during PBA action Friday in Angeles City, Pampanga. The Aces won, 90-79. (PBA Media Bureau)

ALASKA’s Calvin Abueva protects the ball from San Miguel import Terik Bridgeman as teammate Ledontae Henton looks on during PBA action Friday in Angeles City, Pampanga. The Aces won, 90-79. (PBA Media Bureau)

No one is more relieved than Compton.

“It was definitely nice to finally get a win, it has been so long and we have had so many close games that we have lost,” said the amiable Alaska mentor through text message.

The last time Alaska won was against Rain or Shine last April 2.

The Aces still have tough work cut out for them, according to Compton.

“In terms of our playoff chances, we still have a really long, tough road in front of us,” he stressed.

The Aces will have their hands full against the dangerous GlobalPort Batang Pier on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

They are expected to hurdle winless Kia on Sept. 10, but face tough teams in Meralco on Sept. 15 and Rain or Shine on Sept. 20.

“We still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs but we need a little help in terms of other teams that we are trying to catch,” admitted Compton. “We will just keep fighting and see what happens.”

The Aces should have no problem winning if they could play the way they played against the Beermen.

Do-it-all import Ledontae Henton outplayed SMB counterpart Terik Bridgeman and the Beermen’s solid frontline as he pumped in 36 points and 15 rebounds.

Locals Calvin Abueva, Sonny Thoss and JVee Casio also chipped in ample contributions in the stretch to help Alaska hold off an expected SMB fightback.

The 6-foot-4 Bridgeman, tapped to take over the reins from hefty Wendell McKines, flopped on his debut as he could score two points in four attempts and accounted for six of the Beermen’s 24 errors, putting a big cloud over his immediate future with the team.

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