SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–NLEX made a stronger case for a playoff spot after dealing the worn out San Miguel a 34-point beating, 124-90, in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the Angeles University Foundation Arena.
Michael Miranda fired 22 points built on a perfect 8-of-8 field goal shooting as the Road Warriors zoomed to their third consecutive win for an improved 4-5 card at No. 9 behind Magnolia (4-4).
Kevin Alas unleashed an all-around effort with 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists while Kiefer Ravena and JR Quiñahan added 14 markers apiece for the Yeng Guiao-coached team.
Jericho Cruz and Anthony Semerad chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the blowout victory.
“Napakalaking swerte, bwenas namin na undermanned na sila, pagod pa sila,” said Guiao. “Isa lang ang game plan namin ngayon, tatakbo tayo. Tignan natin kung may legs pa sila. It just so happened na napakahirap ng lugar nila.”
NLEX, which struggled in the early part of the bubble conference, kept its playoff hopes very much alive after pulling the rug from under TNT (109-98) and Rain or Shine (94-74).
“Ang laki ng diperensya ng kondisyon namin three or four weeks ago to our condition right now. We’re a lot sharper. We’re a lot more cohesive both on offense and defense.”
Alas set the tone for NLEX’s early breakaway, hitting three triples in a 19-8 run for a 36-25 lead in the first quarter.
The Road Warriors never put their feet off the gas pedal and led by as high as 38 points, 113-75, with Miranda dropping 20 points in the second half.
Paul Zamar had 23 points while Von Pessumal and Mo Tautuaa had 11 and 10 markers, respectively, for the defending champion San Miguel, which suffered its second straight setback in less than 24 hours after losing to Phoenix, 110-103.
The Beermen missed the services of Marcio Lassiter due to a strained calf as they dropped to No. 7 with a 5-4 record.
NLEX 124 — Miranda 22, Alas 19, Ravena 14, Quinahan 14, Cruz 11, Semerad 10, Porter 9, Soyud 6, Ighalo 6, McAloney 5, Galanza 4, Paniamogan 2, Taulava 2, Varilla 0, Ayonayon 0.
SAN MIGUEL 90 — Zamar 23, Pessumal 11, Tautuaa 10, Cabagnot 9, Ross 9, Comboy 8, Santos 8, Alolino 7, Mamaril 4, Gamalinda 1, De Guzman 0, Escoto 0.
Quarters: 35-25, 67-47, 91-65, 124-90