Tied at 82, LA Revilla milked the clock and found Hyram Bagatsing from the wing as he sealed the game-clinching triple with one second remaining to cap the 85-82 win for Kia over NLEX held at the Ynares Stadium in Antipolo.
The local starters sizzled early for the Road Warriors as they tallied the first 11 points of their squad to lead by six in the first five minutes of the match. Asi Taulava did a splendid job against Hamady N’Diaye down low to secure early boards in favor of NLEX. After a stop, Kwame Alexander scored two transition baskets including an and-one play while LA Revilla chipped in a floater to make it 18-10 in favor of the Road Warriors.
Despite playing patient offense to locate their reinforcement, Carnival struggled in making their attempts including wide-open ones that limited their point production in the first quarter. They ended up with 15 points after 12 minutes of action while Mark Borboran continued the hot start with a dunk and a triple on their end. Borboran, together with teammate Mark Cardona, sinked in the quarter’s last baskets to end it on top by a baker’s dozen.
Jason Deutchman scored on two straight hoops for Kia to slice the lead down to single digits to open things up in the second quarter. This triggered a 10-2 spurt to make it a 30-25 ball game as the bench players for the Carnival came out with energy to make a contest out of the match. However, the reinsertion of Alexander after a short breather paved the way for a 10-4 response on NLEX’s end that distance themselves anew against KIA, who struggled to keep up in the stretch with their costly turnovers.
Alexander made two more baskets just before the half would expire and his locals would step up to support him in defense as they held at 14-point lead into the break. They shot a good 50% clip at the end of the first half as well.
With their import still struggling to get his interior game going, the locals stepped up during the third period, anchored by LA Revilla to start their own run. Revilla drained a triple from top of the key to make it 50-42 still in favor of NLEX. This jump started the run to claw their way back down to three points capped by an N’Diaye dunk. The Road Warriors once again responded as their two Villanuevas each shot a basket in their own rally to reinstall a nine-point barrier.
In the last four minutes of the third, Kia limited the Road Warriors to only three points while they had 14 markers in their crucial surge heading into the final period. The stretch included triples from Jett Chang, Hyram Bagatsing and Jonathan Pareno.
Oozing with confidence, the three-point sniping continued with Deutchman and Change hitting triples in the first three minutes of the final quarter. NLEX players also joined the parade in hitting the perimeter jumpers and tie the game at 70 with 8:48 left. In the next three minutes, Kia pushed to a 10-1 run cemented by another triple by Chang.
On the other hand, Alexander and Taulava anchored the fight back for their team with crucial baskets and effort plays to make it 82-79 with less than two minutes to play. After a series of misses from the field, Alexander splits his free throws while LA Revilla muffed his three-point attempt. After a timeout, Alexander once again drove and laid one in to tie the game at 82 and leaving 15 ticks in the game clock. After Batsing drained the booming triple late, Cardona failed to convert with a second to go in regulation.
Kia improves to a 2-1 slate while NLEX slides to 1-3. Carnival shot 12 out of 27 from downtown and doubled NLEX’s output from three-point territory. Moreover, despite being outrebounded 51-40, Kia ended up taking care of the ball better with less turnovers, 8-10.
Kia(85) – Revilla 15, Chang 14, Nuyles 11, Deutchman 10, Bagatsing 8, N’Diaye 6, Thiele 6, Yee 5, Pascual 4, Pareno 4, Alvarez 2, Ighalo 0, Dehesa 0, Avenido 0
NLEX(82) – Alexander 22, Taulava 17, Borboran 10, Cardona 8, Villanueva E. 6, Ramos 5, Canaleta 5, Villanueva J.4, Madanly 3, Arboleda 0, Raymundo 0
Quarters: 15-28, 36-50, 63-61, 85-82