The Kia Carnival are out for blood this conference. The expansion team had another memorable Wednesday night, riding on a late fourth quarter surge to steal the lead and the win from defending champions, Purefoods Star Hotshots, 95-84, at the Araneta Coliseum.
The first half opened to a shootout between Purefoods and Kia, leading to a tight contest in the first few minutes of play. With less than four minutes left on the clock, Daniel Orton and PJ Simon collaborated to help the Hotshots pull away for a 15-10 lead, but Kia responded with a run of their own. Eliud Poligrates and PJ Ramos initiated an 11-4 run to steal the lead and take a 21-19 advantage at the end of the quarter.
Come the second quarter it was the Hoshots turn to take control of the ballgame, opening the period with a 10-1 run to lead by as many as seven, 29-22, in the first few minutes, spoiling the entry of playing coach Manny Pacquiao. Hot shooting from LA Revilla and PJ Ramos’ inside dominance however proved insufficient, as Purefoods exited the quarter still with the lead, 50-44.
Unfazed by the deficit, the Carnival found their spark around four minutes into the third quarter, coming within two after a five-point burst, care of Leo Avenido and Kyle Pascual, 56-58. But answering back for Purefoods was Mark Barroca and Mick Pennisi, who completed their own five-point run to extend the lead back to seven, 63-56. Though they continued to nip at the Hotshots’ heels, the Carnival still had no answer for the sweet-shooting Purefoods. A late explosion from Joe Devance led the Hotshots to a 75-68 advantage at the end of the quarter.
The Carnival found their touch from the outside, and with a slew of jumpers trimmed the lead to a single digit, 75-76, after a 7-1 run capped off by a JR Cawaling triple, four minutes into the period. Halfway through the quarter, a layup from Poligrates gave Kia their first taste of the lead since the opening period, 79-78. Marc Pingris however answered on the other end with a layup of his own to give Purefoods back the lead, 80-79.
Approaching the last two minutes, Kia’s towering import Ramos powered his way for a couple of big baskets and boards to give Kia a narrow 84-82 advantage. A three-point play by Revilla with a minute and a half left on the clock extended the lead to five, 87-82. One possession later, Poligrates gave Kia their biggest lead of the ballgame with a sneaky trey, 90-82. Purefoods’ Barroca answered on the other end to douse the fire and trim the deficit to a manageable six with little more than a minute left to play. But following a spirited timeout, Revilla gave Kia something to celebrate with a breakaway three that put them up by nine, 93-84, with 40 ticks left on the clock. Kia only needed to force Purefoods to miss on the next possession, and later, Mark Yee put the icing on the cake with a nice reverse with less than ten seconds left in regulation.
Revilla was named Player of the Game with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. With the win, Kia improves to 2-4, while Purefoods slides to 4-2 in the standings.
Quarters: 21-19, 44-50, 68-75, 95-84
Photo by Nuki Sabio