NLEX Road Warriors 105 – Alaska Aces 99, NLEX leads the series 1-0
Kiefer Ravena had several big plays in the final seconds of the game to lead the NLEX Road Warriors to their first playoff win. They take the series lead over the Alaska Aces.
It was a hotly-contested match-up between both teams. NLEX tried to pull away in the second quarter when they built a 11-point lead. Kevin Alas powered the Road Warriors with aggressive drives to the hoop. He was supported by JR Quinahan who found his range from beyond the arc. Alaska came roaring right back into the game in the third period. Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel and Jeron Teng barged their way into the paint as they got to within two points heading into the final period. That set up the dramatic finish to the first game of the series.
Alaska was leading by four with less than three minutes left in the game. Larry Fanocier got the ball on the right wing on a fast break and let loose a trey as Abueva bumped into him. The ball splashed through as the whistle was called and NLEX tied the game with the four-point play. With 24 seconds left in the game, Ravena rose up for a jumper but at the last second dished off to Jon Miranda who was in position for for the go-ahead basket. In the ensuing possession, NLEX forced a jump ball. Quinahan tapped the ball Ravena’s way and the rookie took it in for the dagger layup.
Ravena finished with 25 points and eight assists. He scored 12 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Road Warriors to the win. Fonacier added 18 points and nine rebounds while Alas had an all-around 17-5-6 statline.
Barangay Ginebra 88 – Rain or Shine Elasto Painters 80, Ginebra leads the series 1-0
Barangay Ginebra made sure there would be no more extra periods as they beat the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters with a late run in the game.
It was another tight defensive contest between the two gritty teams. Early on it looked like this game was headed for another extra period affair as the Elasto Painters stuck to Ginebra. Rain or Shine had an answer to every Ginebra basket as they prevented the crowd-favorite from getting any momentum. Ginebra would take no lead bigger than three points in the first half.
Ginebra held a slim one-point lead, 70-69 midway through the fourth period when Joe Devance got their offense started. He scored five straight points to give Ginebra a six-point lead. Japeth Aguilar followed that up with four straight points of his own, capped off with a put-back dunk to give Ginebra a double-digit lead. Sol Mercado buried a three-pointer to make it a 12-0 run as Ginebra took a 13-point lead. Rain or Shine tried to get back in the game but Devance, Aguilar, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson all made big plays to keep them at bay.
Thompson led the team with a monster effort. He had 14 points, 15 big rebounds and seven assists in an all-around effort. LA Tenorio had 16 points to lead the team in scoring. Aguilar and Devance controlled the paint as they combined for 29 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.