The NLEX Road Warriors almost squander a 30-point lead but hold on for the win
Published 7:07 PM, February 11, 2018
Updated 7:07 PM, February 11, 2018
STREAK. Larry Fonacier scores 15 points as the NLEX Road Warriors bag their 3rd straight win. Photo by PBA Images
MANILA, Philippines – The NLEX Road Warriors almost blew a 30-point lead but managed to remain composed in the dying seconds to end the Alaska Aces’ 6-game winning streak, 96-89, in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, February 11.
NLEX looked like it was on its way to an easy win as it mounted an 87-57 advantage with 9:46 remaining in the final quarter. But Alaska, behind its patented full-court press, made things interesting with a 32-4 run to cut the deficit to just two points, 89-91, with 14 seconds remaining.
Kevin Alas splitting his free throws for a 92-89 NLEX lead kept the comeback door ajar for Alaska but Kevin Racal, who was aiming to set up Carl Bryan Cruz for a game-tying triple, put too much force in his inbound pass that went out of bounds.
Kiefer Ravena and Larry Fonacier canned all of their 4 free throws to secure the win for the Road Warriors, who bagged their 3rd straight win for a 5-4 card.
Fonacier finished with 15 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds while Ravena added 12 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Raul Soyud made his presence felt with 15 markers and 7 rebounds, Alas added 15 points and 8 rebounds, while JR Quiñahan chipped in 12 markers, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds in the win.
“I was wrong again. You really need a 30-point lead to beat Alaska. Even with a 30-point lead, we were not safe. There’s a reason they got 6 straight wins and maybe they were just due for a loss,” said NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao.
Vic Manuel paced the Aces with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists while Jeron Teng and JVee Casio chalked up 12 markers apiece.
Alaska slipped to second place with a 6-3 card, tying the Magnolia Hotshots.
NLEX (96): Alas 15, Fonacier 15, Soyud 15, Quiñahan 12, Ravena 12, Miranda 8, Tiongson 8, Mallari 4, Baguio 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Gotladera 2, Taulava 0
Alaska (89): Casio 12, Manuel 12, Teng 12, Abueva 10, Cruz 10, Enciso 10, Exciminiano 7, Banchero 4, Racal 4, Thoss 4, Potts 3, J. Pascual 1, Baclao 0
Quarter scores: 29-18, 52-32, 79-54, 96-89