MANILA, Philippines – Kevin Alas came through the clutch as NLEX emerged in a tough 116-112 comeback victory against third-running Converge in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Saturday, February 18, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Alas fired a season-high 31 points – including five in the final 38.2 seconds – a triple that gave the Road Warriors a 113-109 lead, and insurance free throws that hiked their advantage to 115-112 with 19.6 to go.
The guard also made a big defensive stop that deflected the ball off Converge import Jamaal Franklin, which set up the big triple.
Franklin, who finished with a conference personal-best 53 points on 9 threes, missed the game-tying shot with about 9 seconds remaining in regulation.
NLEX also overcame a huge disparity in free throws, attempting 27 to the FiberXers’ 47, 25 coming in the first 24 minutes of play.
“They displayed a different level of effort. Thankfully, we have Kevin Alas,” said Road Warriors head coach Frankie Lim, as his team snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to 5-2.
“It was a huge factor that we were short on players because of injury and even my rotation was changed,” he added.
Converge was in control from the get-go, setting up an early 23-11 lead with 3:46 left in the opening period.
By halftime, the Road Warriors were able to whittle it down to four, 52-48.
In the third, NLEX was able to create some separation, 71-67, before Converge was able to knot the contest again at 80-all heading to the payoff period.
The FiberXers were close to sealing the deal in the fourth after Franklin made some huge shots for them, including a pull-up three that gave them a 107-100 lead with 4:28 left in the game.
NLEX then proceeded to force some turnovers and hit some absurd shots to set up the dramatic ending.
Road Warriors import Wayne Selden, Jr. scored 35, added 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 8 steals in his first win in the PBA. Kris Rosales contributed 17 markers as well.
Maverick Ahanmisi, meanwhile, pumped in 22 points off the bench for Converge, which fell to 5-2.
NLEX 116 – Selden Jr. 35, Alas 31, Rosales 17, Semerad 16, Ganuelas-Rosser 10, Doliguez 3, Gabo 2, Trollano 2, Paniamogan 0, Pascual 0.
Converge 112 – Franklin 53, Ahanmisi 22, Racal 10, Arana 8, Teng 7, Tratter 5, Ebona 4, Stockton 2, Balanza 1, Murrell 0.
Quarters: 23-28, 48-52, 80-80, 116-112.
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