PBA Philippine Cup

Alas aces PBA return as NLEX holds off Magnolia to stay alive

Delfin Dioquino
Alas aces PBA return as NLEX holds off Magnolia to stay alive

COMEBACK. Kevin Alas successfully returns from health and safety protocols.

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Kevin Alas sets a new PBA career-high in points as NLEX avoids a monumental meltdown against Magnolia in their quarterfinal clash

MANILA, Philippines – NLEX averted a colossal collapse against Magnolia, 90-77, to force a knockout quarterfinals in the PBA Philippine Cup at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan on Friday, July 29.

Kevin Alas unloaded a career-high 30 points on top of 9 rebounds and 4 assists as the Road Warriors survived after seeing what was once a 26-point lead cut to single digits to tie the best-of-three series.

Back from health and safety protocols, Alas set the tone in the win with 22 first-half points to help his side build a huge 55-32 lead before Magnolia stormed back in the last two quarters.

Riding on an eight-game winning streak, the Hotshots trimmed their deficit to just 9 points early in the fourth period, 66-75, behind Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang.

But NLEX regained its bearings and erected a 13-2 run highlighted by 4 straight Alas points to restore a 20-point advantage.

Calvin Oftana backstopped Alas with 10 points and 9 rebounds, while Tony Semerad chimed in 9 points, with 7 coming in the pivotal fourth quarter.

Don Trollano also made his presence felt in the win with 8 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals, including the bucket that gave the Road Warriors their biggest lead at 61-35 early in the third period.

Abueva finished with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists for Magnolia, which suffered its first loss in more than one month.

The Scores

NLEX 90 – Alas 30, Oftana 10, Semerad 9, Varilla 8, Trollano 8, Quinahan 8, Chua 6, Nieto 6, Miranda 3, Rosales 2, Paniamogan 0, Ighalo 0.

Magnolia 77 – Abueva 20, Lee 12, Dionisio 11, Sangalang 10, Jalalon 7, Reavis 4, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 4, Wong 3, Corpuz 2, Brill 0, Ahanmisi 0, Zaldivar 0, Escoto 0.

Quarters: 25-18, 55-32, 73-59, 90-77.

– Rappler.com

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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.