Manuel game-winner tows Alaska past San Miguel in Balkman's PBA return
MANILA, Philippines – Renaldo Balkman returned to the PBA after 5 years but Vic Manuel rained on his parade with a game-winning floater that pushed Alaska to a 105-103 win over San Miguel in Dumaguete City on Saturday, May 19.
The jampacked Lambero Macias Sports Complex broke loose after Manuel beat the buzzer with a running one-hander which gave the Aces their 4th straight win and a share of the top spot.
Balkman – who played in the PBA for the first time since 2013 after commissioner Willie Marcial lifted the lifetime ban dealt then as punishment for choking teammate Arwind Santos – almost willed the Beermen to victory despite trailing by 22 points.
The Puerto Rican import had a chance to shatter the 103-all deadlock when he sized up Alaska counterpart Antonio Campbell at the top of the key but instead turned the ball over, paving the way for Manuel's last-second heroics.
Manuel starred for the Aces – who are tied with Rain or Shine and TNT on top with identical 4-1 cards – with 23 points and 5 rebounds while JVee Casio added 18 points, 4 assists and 3 boards.
Balkman finished with a game-high of 32 points on top of 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals but those weren't enough as the winless Beermen skidded to their 3rd straight loss.
The Aces enjoyed a comfortable 72-50 cushion midway through the 3rd period before the Beermen found their footing the rest of the way with Balkman and Christian Standhardinger conspiring.
San Miguel entered the payoff period with a manageable 9-point deficit and it continued to chisel away from Alaska's lead until it tied the game at 100-all off a Chico Lanete triple with 2:05 minutes left.
Chris Banchero churned out 15 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and two steals while Calvin Abueva and Campbell combined for 26 points and 25 rebounds in the win.
Standhardinger backstopped Balkman with 22 points and 6 rebounds and Marcio Lassiter chipped in 20 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in the losing effort.
Alaska (105): Manuel 23, Casio 18, Banchero 15, Campbell 13, Abueva 13, Racal 7, Magat 5, Thoss 4, Exciminiano 3, Enciso 2, Teng 2, Baclao 0, Pascual 0
San Miguel (103): Balkman 32, Standhardinger 22, Lassiter 20, Santos 12, Fajardo 7, Lanete 6, Cabagnot 4, Ross 0
Quarter scores: 28-20, 57-43, 81-72, 105-103 – Rappler.com