After feeling his way around in his coaching debut, Luigi Trillo finally found his winning touch in his second game in the PBA.
Behind inspiring games from Jason Forte, LA Tenorio and Gabby Espinas, the Alaska Aces ran roughshod over the Barako Bull Energy, 104-84, in the elimination round of the Governors’ Cup on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Forte finished with 29 points, 16 rebounds and three steals while Tenorio ably quarterbacked the Aces’ plays with precision while chalking up 21 points and six assists.
Then there was Espinas, who was inserted on the starting unit and came through with 18 points, seven rebounds and did a little bit of defense.
The three Aces set the tone for their team’s breakaway in the second half, when Alaska scored 62 points.
“We’re still adjusting, but it’s nice to see activity from us defensively,” said Trillo. “Once you generate that type of activity, it gives your team positive result. We played aggressive basketball right in first quarter.”
The win was payback of sorts for the Aces, who lost to the Energy squad in the playoffs of the Commissioner’s Cup. On Sunday, it was Alaska which played with more energy than Barako Bull.
“They had a tiring game on Friday. But we have to give credit for our players for playing good defense. Jamine Peterson is a great talent. You try to make it hard for him to get touches,” said Trillo.
Peterson, who had an impressive debut in his first game against Powerade, was held to only 19 points. He even picked up a flagrant foul penalty one against Espinas during a rebound struggle in one play.
Espinas’ two free throws gave the Aces a 94-75 lead with 4:14 left and the Energy never recovered from there.
“Gabby is big and athletic, although he gets too emotional sometimes. People look at him as a post threat, but he’s a good defender,” added Trillo.
Alaska (104) – Forte 29, Tenorio 21, Espinas 18, Baguio 14, Baracael 8, Thoss 6, Dela Cruz 4, Custodio 2, Gelig 2, Eman 0, Gonzales 0, Sotto 0.
Barako Bull (84) – Peterson 19, Seigle 15, Miller 14, Najorda 9, Allado 7, Arboleda 6, Sharma 4, Tubid 3, Salvacion 3, Kramer 2, Cruz 2, Cervantes 0.
Quarters: 20-12; 42-36; 76-63; 104-84