Backcourt duo Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena took charge as NLEX emphatically bounced back at the expense of reigning champion Barangay Ginebra, 94-75, for its breakthrough win in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday, July 18 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Alas and Ravena fired 20 and 19 points, respectively, to lead a balanced attack as the Road Warriors rebounded from a sorry 83-82 season-opening loss to Rain or Shine last Friday.
Don Trollano and Anthony Semerad scored 11 points apiece while JR Quiñahan chipped in 10 markers for the Yeng Guiao-coached squad which converted 12 three-pointers in the wire-to-wire win.
Guiao was glad with how the Road Warriors pounced on the Kings who looked lethargic early in their season debut.
“Actually I expected us to play decently pero di ko inaasahan na ganun kalaki yung lamang namin. We’re very luck that Ginebra is playing their first game, they’re still making adjustments… Mabuti medyo malamig pa sila ngayon,” said the respected 62-year-old mentor.
NLEX cruised to a searing 17-2 start thanks to Ravena, but Ginebra managed to trim the gap down to 35-41 at the half behind LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar.
Alas and Quiñahan joined forces to trigger the Road Warriors’ 19-8 run that handed them their biggest lead at 70-50 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
It was all NLEX from there as Ginebra was only able to inch within 68-79 on Scottie Thompson’s triple.
Aguilar tallied 15 points while Thompson had a 12-marker, 12-rebound double-double and Tenorio had 11 points for the Kings, who emerged victorious in the grueling bubble conference in Clark last year.
Christian Standhardinger had eight points and 10 boards in his debut for Tim Cone’s side even as reigning Best Player of the Conference Stanley Pringle settled for eight markers with four turnovers.
NLEX 94 – Alas 20, Ravena 19, Semerad 11, Trollano 11, Quinahan 10, Cruz 9, Soyud 7, Miranda 5, Oftana 2, Porter 0, McAloney 0, Porter 0
Ginebra 75 – Aguilar 15, Tenorio 11, Thompson 12, Pringle 8, Standhardinger 8, Caperal 8, Chan 4, Devance 3, Ayaay 2, Tolentino 2, Enriquez 2, Dillinger 0
Quarters : 26-15, 41-35, 72-55,94-75