In Alaska’s first practice game since losing to Rain or Shine in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, assistant coach Louie Alas observed that the Aces never seemed to have lost the energy on the court.
With import LaDontae Henton and Vic Manuel leading the charge, the Aces clobbered the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 115-101, in their tuneup match Thursday at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
“We were able to execute the same system in both ways, I mean parang di nagbakasyon. The effort is awesome,” Alas told FOX Sports.
The former long-time Letran Knight bench tactician was particularly pleased with Henton’s offensive and defensive intensity, who finished with 22 points, before fouling out late in the game.
“ I like what I saw on LaDontae, very aggressive offensively and defensively. He fouled out because he challenged every shot,” he said. “Hopefully, he’ll sustain it.”
Known for his energy on both ends of the floor, the 24-year-old Henton is coming off a stint with Baloncesto Sevilla in the Spanish League last year, his first overseas stint, where he submitted averages of 5.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.5 assist in 28 games.
Particularly impressive was Manuel, the undersized forward, who seemed to have completely recovered from his right calf injury that forced him to miss the Commissioner’s Cup Finals. The “Muscle Man” tossed in 19 points.
Less than 2 weeks since the team returned to practice, Alas felt the Aces are beginning to heat up in time for the season-ending Governors Cup, which is tentatively set to start on July 15.
Big man Sonny Thoss chipped in 14, while cat-quick Fil-Italian playmaker Chris Banchero added 13 for the Aces.
Alaska travels early Saturday morning to Tarlac to face Rain or Shine in the final PBA Campus Tour schedule at the Tarlac State University.
The Fuel Masters were led by spitfire guard Josh Urbiztondo’s 27 points, while American import Marcus Simmons had 26.