NLEX sweeps Alaska for first PBA semifinals in franchise history

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The NLEX Road Warriors earned their first semifinals appearance in franchise history by eking out an 87-83 win over the Alaska Aces in Game 2 of their best-of-3 quarterfinals series at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday, March 7. 

Trailing by 3 points late in the payoff period, 80-83, NLEX rode on a game-clinching 7-0 run, composed of Mike Miranda's triple and freebies, and Kevin Alas' dipsy-doo layup, to sweep the Aces.

With more than a minute left, the Aces had enough time to trim the deficit but they committed a turnover and JVee Casio and Calvin Abueva missed both of their 3-point attempts.  

Alas finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds while JR Quinahan added 16 points and 5 boards in the win. 

Miranda had 12 points and 3 rebounds and Kiefer Ravena chipped in 11 points and 7 assists for the Road Warriors.

"They really wanted this. They’re very hungry to make the semifinals and make our fans happy, make our supporters happy, our management happy. This bunch of guys were able to at least get to the farthest level that we can get," said NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao. 

Abueva had 17 points and 16 rebounds but all that went for naught as the Aces suffered their 6th straight loss to the Road Warriors.

Ping Exciminiano finished with 12 points and 7 rebound while Casio and Kevin Racal combined for 20 points and 14 rebounds in the loss. 

Alaska has yet to win a game against NLEX since Yeng Guiao took over the coaching reins for the Road Warriors. 

The Road Warriors will face the Magnolia Hotshots on a best-of-7 semifinals series starting Saturday, March 10, at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

NLEX (87): Alas 18, Quinahan 16, Miranda 12, Ravena 11, Mallari 8, Fonacier 7, Soyud 5, Tiongson 3, Ighalo 3, Taulava 2, Al-Husaini 2, Gotladera 0

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

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

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.