first_imgAlaska Aces’ Carl Bryan Cruz floats the basket in front of the defense of NLEX Road Warriors’ Paul Asi Taulava. PBA PHOTO MANILA – Alaska Aces punched the last ticket to the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals. It ousted NLEX Road Warriors, 88-80, in a do-or-die game last night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.Joachim Thoss had his best game in the All-Filipino conference with 21 points.Simon Enciso and Carl Bryan Cruz combined for seven triples to finish with 16 markers each.The Aces, which claimed the No. 8 seed with the victory, will tangle with No. 1 ranked Phoenix Fuel Masters which has a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals starting on Sunday. From a 5-6 deficit early in the match, the Aces went on a rally behind triples from Cruz and Enciso for a 20-12 advantage. The Road Warriors went on a late run to come to within 17-23 after a triple by Philip Paniamogan from near midcourt.The Road Warriors were still hanging around at 22-27 mid-way in the second canto but the Ace’ three-point shots from Cruz and Jvee Casio allowed them to pull away at 44-25 at the half.The Aces continued its run in the third period on inside baskets from Thoss to build its largest lead at 71-43 on a layup by Jeron Teng but the Road Warriors rallied to within 62-77.The Aces quickly pulled away at 83-62 on inside hits from Thoss, Jesper Ayaay and Enciso before the Road Warriors came up with consecutive points late in the game to come to within 80-88.Kenneth Ighalo top-scored with 16 markers while Pedrito Galanza and Joseph Ronald Quinahan added 14 and 13 markers, respectively, for the Road Warriors, which bowed out of contention./PNlast_img read more