NLEX rides Alas’ hot hand to secure playoff berth, nip Blackwater

Delfin Dioquino

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NLEX rides Alas’ hot hand to secure playoff berth, nip Blackwater
Kevin Alas catches fire with 16 points in the 4th quarter alone to catapult the NLEX Road Warriors to their 4th straight win

(UPDATED) BOCAUE, Philippines – Kevin Alas waxed hot in the 4th quarter and the NLEX Road Warriors clinched a playoff berth following a 93-90 win over the Blackwater Elite in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Philippine Arena here Sunday, February 18. 

Alas scored 16 points in the payoff period, highlighted by 4 triples, to cap off a 25-point, 8-rebound, and 5-assist night that helped the Road Warriors bag their 4th straight victory.

NLEX trailed 65-74 heading into the 4th period before Alas buried two treys in a 9-0 stretch that tied the game at 74-all.

Blackwater regained the upper hand off back-to-back buckets from James Sena and Poy Erram, 78-74, but Alas retaliated with a personal 8-0 run, highlighted by two consecutive long bombs, for an 82-78 NLEX lead. 

NLEX pushed its lead to 6 points after a Cyrus Baguio layup, 84-78, a sufficient advantage to fend off a late Elite scare.

“Another hard game for us. Wala kaming panalong madali (We didn’t have an easy win), our last 4 wins were just grind out games and this is not exception,” said NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao.

“Blackwater is getting better, they are giant killers and coming into this game, I already told the guys na pahihirapan tayo ng team na ito (that it will be difficult facing them), it’s going to be a hard game and it was.” 

Kiefer Ravena added 23 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals for NLEX, which improved to a 6-4 slate and tied the Alaska Aces at 4th place . The Road Warriors have not lost a game in two weeks after going on a 4-game skid. 

Erram finished with 14 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 assists for the Elite, who are now at 9th place together with the TNT KaTropa behind identical 4-6 records.

Blackwater had a 12 more offensive rebounds than NLEX but could not capitalize on it as both teams tallied 21 second chance points apiece. 

Mike Digregorio had 16 points, Raymar Jose chipped in 14 points and 9 rebounds, Allein Maliksi made his presence felt with 13 points and 6 rebounds while Sena added 12 points and 8 boards in the losing effort. 


The Scores:

NLEX (93): Alas 25, Ravena 23, Tiongson 9, Quiñahan 8, Al-Hussaini 6, Baguio 5, Mallari 5, Soyud 4, Ighalo 3, Miranda 3, Fonacier 2, Gotladera 0, Taulava 0 

Blackwater (90): Digregorio 16, Erram 14, Jose 14, Maliksi 13, Sena 12, Belo 10, Palma 6, Marcelo 5, Pinto 0

Quarter scores: 23-20, 41-46, 65-74, 93-90 


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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.