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Alaska snaps NLEX's late playoff dash in OT thriller

Maverick Ahanmisi put up season-high numbers for the Aces. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Alaska secured a spot in the PBA quarterfinals while putting a dent to NLEX's own bid with a 122-119 overtime win on Monday night at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

A five-point swing turned the tides for the Aces as they would keep the Road Warriors at bay until the end.

With both teams tied at 113-all midway into the overtime period, Rodney Brondial scored the eventual go-ahead layup while Mike Digregorio converted a booming triple that gave Alaska a 118-113 lead with 1:52 remaining.

NLEX still had a chance to inch closer after Kiefer Ravena drew Maverick Ahanmisi's last foul while converting a layup with 1:08 left that cut the lead down to three, 120-117.

However, Ravena, normally a steady free throw shooter, missed the bonus charity even as he bungled another layup in the next NLEX offensive that could have trimmed the gap further.

Ravena had one final chance to tie the game as he got past the defense of Jvee Casio, but his three-point attempt rattled out of the rim.

Casio got the rebound, but still kept a glimmer of hope for NLEX as he only made a split from the free throw line that upped Alaska's lead to four, 121-117, with nine seconds to play.

JR Quinahan scored on a jumper to cut the Aces' lead down to two, but with only 2.1 seconds left, that was all the Road Warriors can draw closer to as Abu Tratter made a split of his own for the final scoreline.

Ahanmisi finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and three steals for Alaska, which finished its elimination round campaign at 7-4, momentarily in third place behind joint leaders Ginebra and TNT.

Casio added 19 points, five rebounds, two assists, and three steals off the bench.

Ravena fired 30 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and one steal for NLEX, whose three-game winning streak that put the team back in playoff contention was snapped.

Quinahan added 24 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and one block.

Now down to 4-6, the team must beat Terrafirma on Wednesday and hope that Rain Or Shine loses in its last two games against TNT on Tuesday night and Phoenix the following evening to force a rubber match on Thursday night for the last quarterfinal spot.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_

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