MANILA, Philippines – NLEX built a lead just enough to stave off a gutsy comeback from Meralco, 105-99, and pick up its second win in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, September 27.
Kiefer Ravena messed with a triple-double of 15 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and most importantly, came up with two game-defining plays in the final minute as the Road Warriors gained an early lead in the standings at 2-0.
After getting buried by as many as 20 points, the Bolts slowly chiseled away at their deficit and came knocking within 4 points, 96-100, off back-to-back Baser Amer and Raymond Almazan buckets with 1:14 minutes left.
But Ravena restored order for NLEX, assisting on a Jericho Cruz layup and draining the layup that put his side up 104-96 with 35 seconds remaining.
JR Quinahan topscored for the Road Warriors with 19 points, import Olu Ashaolu chalked up 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Kenneth Ighalo caught fire for 15 points on a perfect 6-of-6 clip from the field.
Also making his presence felt in the win were Larry Fonacier and Cruz, who delivered 11 and 10 points, respectively.
It was a nip-and-tuck battle early in the second half with Meralco trailing within shouting distance 55-59, until NLEX blew the game wide open behind a 14-0 run.
Bong Galanza and Ravena then drilled in back-to-back three-pointers for an 83-63 Road Warriors lead – their biggest of the game.
Import Allen Durham churned out 32 points, 19 rebounds, and 3 steals for the Bolts, who fell to 1-1, while reigning Player of the Week Raymond Almazan put up 17 points, 17 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
NLEX 105 – Quinahan 17, Ashaolu 17, Ravena 15, Ighalo 15, Fonacier 11, Cruz 10, Galanza 9, Paniamogan 5, Miranda 2, Baguio 2, Rios 0, Lao 0, Soyud 0, Paredes 0.
Meralco 99 – Durham 32, Almazan 17, Amer 15, Caram 8, Newsome 7, Salva 6, Quinto 5, Hugnatan 5, Faundo 2, Pint0 2, Jackson 0, Tolomia 0, De Ocampo 0.
Quarters: 28-25, 55-46, 83-68, 105-99.
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