NLEX survives late Alaska run to break out of long logjam

Kevin Alas sealed the win for NLEX after nearly blowing it up with crucial turnovers. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--NLEX held on despite a huge comeback attempt by Alaska and took a 96-89 win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.

The Road Warriors nearly bubbled a 30-point lead, but a lucky break down the stretch helped them escape the Aces' final hurrah.

NLEX was up, 87-57, with 9:46 remaining in the game when Alaska pulled a 32-4 run that cut the lead down to just two, 91-89, with 15 seconds left.

The Aces even had a chance to tie the game when Kevin Alas only made a split from the line with 11.9 seconds left, but Kevin Racal's inbound pass off a timeout intended for Carl Cruz was too strong for the latter to receive, ending up in a huge turnover as free throws from Alas and Kiefer Ravena sealed the win for the Road Warriors.

Alas, Larry Fonacier, and Raul Soyud each chipped in 15 points for NLEX, which moved up to 5-4 in the standings.

Ravena, on the other hand, had a double-double of 12 points and 10 assists with six rebounds, two steals, and one block.

Jeron Teng, Jvee Casio, and Vic Manuel each tallied 12 markers for Alaska, which failed to gain the upper hand in the team standings as its six-game winning streak came to an end.

In effect, San Miguel is again the solo leader in the team standings at 6-2, a half-game clear of both Alaska and Magnolia.

The scores:

NLEX 96-Alas 15, Soyud 15, Fonacier 15, QuiƱahan 12, Ravena 12, Tiongson 8, Miranda 8, Mallari 4, Baguio 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Gotladera 2, Taulava 0

Alaska 89-Teng 12, Casio 12, Manuel 12, Cruz 10, Abueva 10, Enciso 10, Exciminiano 7, Banchero 4, Thoss 4, Racal 4, Potts 3, J. Pascual 1, Baclao 0

Quarterscores: 29-18, 52-32, 79-54, 96-89

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