MANILA, Philippines – Alex Nuyles finished with a career-high 18 points and came up with big-time plays late in the fourth quarter to lead the KIA Carnival past the San Miguel Beermen, 83-78, in their first game of the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday, May 6, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Nuyles, who was acquired from Blackwater at the end of last conference for Reil Cervantes, played 18 minutes off the bench, shot 8-of-14 from the field, and recorded 6 rebounds plus 2 steals - the latter one leading to a layup that created significant separation between both teams.
KIA’s new imports were also superb in their PBA debuts, with Asian import Jet Chang putting up 14 points, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds, and big man Hamdi N'Diyae registering 21 points to go with 6 rebounds and 4 blocks.
“We want to be the number one defensive team with the help of our import,” said KIA head coach Chito Victolero after the contest.
KIA hoped to return last conference’s big man PJ Ramos, but was unable to do so due to his playing commitment in Puerto Rico.
“Si PJ Ramos, [he’s] more of an offensive player, more on the low post,” Victolero said before later adding: “Si N'Diyae, both ends, he helped us.”
N'Diyae was a force on the defensive end for most of the game and converted a critical putback late in the fourth period that put his team ahead 73-69 with 3:35 to go. After San Miguel import Arizona Reid hit a triple to cut the deficit to one, Nuyles hit a 3-ball of his own to bring the lead back up to four.
The Carvinal later went on top 78-72 with 1:44 to go thanks to two Chang freebies at the foul stripe. Beermen guard Alex Cabagnot was then fouled shooting a triple from the corner and made all charities.
After Nuyles split a trip to the foul line to put his team back on top 79-75, he picked the pocket of Reid at the top of the three-point line and raced down his team’s side of the court for an easy layup that made the count 81-75.
Arwind Santos hit a triple to make it a one-possession game with 22 seconds to go, and it looked like San Miguel would get a stop as Nuyles missed a jumper. But N'Diyae secured a rebound that garnered a visit to the foul line, where he put the final nail in the coffin.
Reid battled stomach issues throughout the game and scored 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting. He also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished 6 assists, but also had 7 turnovers.
Santos struggled from the floor, missing 8 of his 10 shots and putting up just 5 points. Reigning league MVP June Mar Fajardo wasn’t any better, going 3-of-11 from the field for 11 points.
Cabagnot came off the bench to lead the Beermen with 18 points and 4 boards.
KIA (83) - N'Diyae 21, Nuyles 18, Chang 14, Dehesa 8, Yee 7, Revilla 6, Thiele 4, Cawaling 3, Deutchman 2, Ighalo 0, Webb 0, Alvarez 0, Buensuceso 0, Pascual 0, Bagatsing 0.
SAN MIGUEL (78) - Cabagnot 18, Reid 17, Lassiter 12, Fajardo 11, Santos 5, Reyes 4, Espinas 4, Lutz 3, Tubid 3, Ross 1, Semerad 0.
Quarter Scoring: 17-10, 33-30, 58-51, 83-78