NLEX triumphant in Kiefer Ravena's official PBA return, edges Phoenix

Olu Ashaolu put up decent numbers for the Road Warriors. PBA Media Group
By Ivan Saldajeno
QUEZON CITY--Kiefer Ravena ended up victorious in his first official PBA game back as NLEX opened its campaign in the Governors' Cup with a 123-116 win against Phoenix in the second night of the conference on Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Road Warriors, however, still had to repulse the Fuel Masters late as the latter bounced back from a poor defensive showing in the third quarter to keep the game close.

NLEX, which trailed for most of the first half, broke loose in the third quarter after exploding for 42 points to go up, 94-84, entering the fourth especially with Phoenix's resident import Eugene Phelps saddled by foul trouble.

But Phelps eventually took care of his fouls in the final frame, and the Fuel Masters came to as close as two points, 109-111, and were just down by three, 113-116, with 1:27 to play.

However, Jericho Cruz smashed what was left of their comeback hopes with a dagger corner three off a Ravena feed right after he split from the free throw line to up the lead to seven, 120-113, with 24.2 seconds remaining as both teams just exchanged baskets in the end.

Olu Ashaolu led NLEX with 29 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and one block, while Ravena came close to a triple-double with 20 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists with three steals.

Phelps put up 38 markers, 10 rebounds, and one assist for Phoenix, while Matt Wright added 24 points, two caroms, nine dimes, and three steals.

RR Garcia put up nine points, three rebounds, three assists, and one steal in his first game as a Fuel Master, while fellow new recruit Davon Potts contributed one assist in a little under three minutes of playing time.

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