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NLEX banks on late rally to draw first blood vs Alaska at start of PH Cup QF's

Kiefer Ravena sizzled anew. PBA Media Bureau
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The last time they played, Alaska fell short of rallying back to steal the win.

This time around, NLEX completed an endgame rally.

The Road Warriors came back from a late deficit to defeat the Aces, 105-99, at the start of the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Monday night.

NLEX ended the game on a 13-3 run to take a 1-0 lead in its best-of-three series against Alaska.

The Aces were up, 96-92, with 2:52 remaining in the game.

But a four-point play from Larry Fonacier sparked the crucial 9-0 run that put the Road Warriors ahead, 101-96, with 11 seconds left.

Simon Enciso kept Alaska in the game with a triple with nine seconds to go that cut the lead to two, 101-99, but Kiefer Ravena made two free throws plus a game-saving steal from Enciso to seal the victory.

Ravena finished with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting with one rebound, eight assists, and one steal, while Fonacier added 18 points, nine rebounds, and one assist for NLEX, which can clinch a semifinal spot with a win in Game 2 on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Chris Banchero chipped in 20 markers, five boards, one assist, and four swipes for Alaska.

Box Scores:

NLEX 105-Ravena 25, Fonacier 18, Alas 17, QuiƱahan 12, Miranda 10, Baguio 8, Al-Hussaini 4, Taulava 4, Soyud 4, Tiongson 3, Mallari 0, Gotladera 0

Alaska 99-Banchero 20, Abueva 18, Enciso 16, Manuel 13, Thoss 11, Casio 8, Magat 4, Teng 4, Racal 4, Baclao 1, Exciminiano 0, Cruz 0

Quarterscores: 24-22, 50-40, 74-72, 105-99

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno