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Kevin Alas wills NLEX past Rain or Shine in 2OT



Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Kevin Alas wills NLEX past Rain or Shine in 2OT Basketball News PBA  Yeng Guiao Rain or Shine Elasto Painters PBA Season 42 NLEX Road Warriors Kevin Alas JR Quinahan James Yap James Weatherspoon Caloy Garcia Beau Belga Aaron Fuller 2017 PBA Governors Cup

In a battle of two hungry squads, the NLEX Road Warriors, a team looking to bounce back in the conference, outlasted the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in two overtimes, 122-114, Wednesday evening at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

“We have to learn how to win games like this if we want to go up to the next level,” said first-year NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao. “The challenge is to beat contenders and to beat them in a hard game like this.”

The win is NLEX’s third win in as many games this conference, extending their winning streak to five games coming from last conference. Moreover, this is NLEX’s best start in franchise history. But despite this feat, the 58-year-old mentor feels that they have yet to prove anything.

“It feels good winning this time, it’s the opposite feeling coming of losing the last two conferences. We are still not contenders, we are just having a good run,” reflected Guiao.

This was also the first time NLEX defeated Rain or Shine under Guiao’s watch. The Elasto Painters dropped to 1-1.

“It’s still a learning process for us. To beat Rain or Shine is a testament to the progress that we made. It’s also an awkward feeling beating that team because sometimes I think I’m still the coach of that team,” added Guiao, who coached Rain or Shine from 2011-2016. “That’s my team, their my boys but like I said, magkakalaban na kami ngayon.”

The game itself was a test of who had more gas left, and it was Rain or Shine who faltered.

With Rain or Shine up 112-111 with 3:51 left, Kevin Alas was able to take advantage of two misses from Beau Belga, knocking down a clutch floater to retake the advantage for NLEX. Three consecutive turnovers by Rain or Shine, two by Jericho Cruz, led to baskets for Alex Mallari, Aaron Fuller, and a booming triple by Larry Fonacier to give NLEX a 120-112 lead with 58 ticks remaining.

Alas set his career-high for points in the game, scoring 24 points, to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists. Moreover, the win would not have been possible without his heroics in the first overtime.

“Kevin Alas has been playing consistently. I called him out for making that stupid foul but he made up for it,” Guiao remarked about the three-year pro.

The play Guiao was pertaining to happened with 6.3 seconds left in the first overtime. With Alas and Chris Tiu figuring in a jump ball situation, Alas jumped into Tiu, forcing the referees to call a foul on him. Tiu converted both free throws. Alas then more than made up for it by willing his way to the paint and knocking down the game-tying layup with 2.6 ticks left.

Fuller finished with another monstrous double-double with 30 points and 20 rebounds, while JR Quinahan and Fonacier added 13 and 11 points respectively.

“I guess our chemistry is getting better, our import is fitting in,” Guiao said.

Rain or Shine rallied back from nine points down midway through the final quarter to force overtime. James Yap and Raymond Almazan combined for 16 fourth quarter points, while a strong move by Maverick Ahanmisi with 23.5 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.

Yap finished with 14 points, three points shy from hitting the 10,000 points club. James Weatherspoon led Rain or Shine with 20 points but faltered in the final 34 minutes of the game, scoring just seven points.

Eight Elasto Painters scored in double-figures.

NLEX look to continue their run when the Road Warriors face the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Sunday, July 30, at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. Rain or Shine, on the other hand, take on the Meralco Bolts on Saturday, July 29, at the Ynares Centre in Antipolo City.

The Scores:

NLEX 122 – Fuller 33, Alas 24, Quinahan 13, Fonacier 11, Lastimosa 10, Mallari 9, Tiongson 6, J. Villanueva 5, Taulava 4, Soyud 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Ighalo 2, Monfort 0, Rios 0.

Rain or Shine 114 – Weatherspoon 20, Belga 15, Yap 14, Ahanmisi 13, Chan 12, Norwood 10, Cruz 10, Almazan 10, Tiu 9, King 1, Ponferada 0.

Quarterscores: 26-27, 59-55, 84-81, 101-101, 122-114.