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NLEX completes semis cast after downing Alaska

Kevin Alas and Calvin Abueva battle for the loose ball. PBA Media Bureau
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--The Final Four is complete.

NLEX booked the last ticket to the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals after completing a 2-0 sweep of its quarterfinal series against Alaska via an 87-83 Game 2 win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Kevin Alas saved the day for the Road Warriors even as their defense over the Aces in the fourth quarter proved vital as they face the Magnolia Hotshots in the semifinals starting Saturday.

NLEX was actually in control for most of the first half, taking a 49-43 lead at halftime.

But Alaska came alive in the third quarter, dropping 28 points on NLEX for a 71-68 lead entering the fourth.

The Road Warriors then opened the fourth on a 12-3 run to go up, 80-74 with 5:08 to go.

The Aces went on a 9-0 run to retake the lead, 83-80, with 3:01 left.

Mike Miranda, however, sparked the game-turning 7-0 blast for NLEX with the equalizing triple with 2:47 left.

He then gave the team the lead back, 85-83, with two charities with 2:05 remaining.

Kevin Alas eventually sealed the win with a hang-time layup with 1:14 remaining as Alaska failed to scored in the end.

Alas finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, and one steal, while Miranda chipped in 12 points and three rebounds for the Road Warriors, who are heading to their first semifinal stint since taking over the Red Bull Barako/Shopinas Clickers franchise.

JR Quinahan added 16 points, five boards, two assists, and one steal.

Calvin Abueva made 17 markers, 16 caroms, and one block for the Aces, which will miss the next round despite entering the playoffs as the third seeds.

Box Scores:

NLEX 87-Alas 18, QuiƱahan 16, Miranda 12, Ravena 11, Mallari 8, Fonacier 7, Soyud 5, Tiongson 3, Ighalo 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Taulava 2, Baguio 0, Gotladera 0

Alaska 83-Abueva 17, Exciminiano 12, Casio 10, Racal 10, Manuel 9, Thoss 8, Banchero 8, Baclao 4, Enciso 2, Cruz 2, Magat 1, Teng 0, J. Pascual 0

Quarterscores: 24-23, 49-43, 68-71, 87-83

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno