MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Kiefer Ravena delivered on both ends as the NLEX Road Warriors nosed out the Magnolia Hotshots, 88-87, to take Game 1 of their best-of-7 semifinals series in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum Saturday, March 10.
Ravena assisted on Alex Mallari's triple that gave the Road Warriors an 88-86 lead with 14.4 seconds left in the game. He then pulled down a defensive rebound on the next possession and buried back-to-back foul shots to put NLEX up by two possessions.
The Hotshots, now within one after a Paul Lee trey, had a chance to win the game after Jio Jalalon stole the ball off an inbound but Ravena came to spoil the party by stealing the ball away from Raffy Reavis.
JR Quinahan was fouled in the process with .8 of a second left and after missing his first free throw, he deliberately missed the second one as the buzzer sounded.
Ravena finished with 16 points, 11 coming in the 4th quarter alone, two assists, two rebounds and a steal against 6 turnovers while Cyrus Baguio had a team-high 17 points on top of 5 rebounds and 4 steals.
Mallari added 14 points and 5 rebounds and Raul Soyud chipped in 10 markers in the win.
"This is an adventure for us. As a team, it’s the first time we made the semifinals. As I said, para kaming mga gatecrashers dito. Hindi kami inimbithanan dito pero nandito pa rin kami. We knew coming into this game that it would be a defensive matchup so had to fine-tune our execution," said NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao.
The Road Warriors limited Magnolia's top guards Lee and Mark Barroca to 8 and 9 points, respectively, on a combined 7-of-20 shooting and forced the Hotshots to 22 turnovers, which translated to 14 points.
Ian Sangalang churned out 21 points and 9 rebounds and PJ Simon chalked up 20 points and 5 boards but that wasn't enough to give Magnolia, which lost Marc Pingris in an apparent knee injury in the 4th quarter, the win.
Pingris was attacking the basket against Quinahan before going down the floor and clutching his knee with 4:39 minutes left. He was carried off on a stretcher and did not return.
Game 2 of the series will held on Tuesday, March 12, 7 p.m., at the Mall of Asia Arena. – Rappler.com
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.