Ravena-less NLEX stages comeback win over listless Blackwater
MANILA, Philippines – Kiefer Ravena may be out but that doesn't mean NLEX is too.
The Road Warriors displayed extreme composure even without their super rookie as they eked out a 93-89 win over the Blackwater Elite in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, May 30.
NLEX trailed by 9 points midway through the payoff period, 77-86, before it unloaded a 13-0 spurt, highlighted by import Arnett Moultrie's 6 straight points and capped by Alex Mallari's triple, for a 90-86 lead.
Blackwater closed the gap to a whisker following Mike Digregorio's freebies but the Road Warriors sealed the triumph off a Mallari and-one play with 9 seconds left in the clock.
Moultrie paced NLEX, who improved to 2-4, with 26 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists while Mallari added 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Juami Tiongson filled in the void left by Ravena, who was slapped an 18-month suspension by FIBA after testing positive for banned substances, with a double-double of 10 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds.
"We will just scrape the bottom of the barrel, ika nga, and try to survive as long as we can. We haven't really planned anything yet because the situation of Kiefer really surprised us," said Guiao.
The Elite remained winless in 7 games and are virtually out of playoff contention despite bringing back import Henry Walker, who was limited to 12 points, 15 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists.
Digregorio paced Blackwater with 25 points, 3 rebounds and two assists while Allein Maliksi added 16 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss.
NLEX (93): Moultrie 26, Tiongson 10, Mallari 10, Fonacier 9, Rios 8, Monfort 5, Baguio 5, Marcelo 5, Soyud 5, Ighalo 5, Quinahan 3, Miranda 2
Blackwater (89): DiGregorio 25, Maliksi 16, Erram 14, Walker 12, Cortez 4, Belo 4, Al-Hussaini 4, Sumang 3, Palma 3, Zamar 2, Jose 2, Pinto 0
Quarter scores: 26-18; 42-40; 67-71; 93-89