Kiefer Ravena pulled the NLEX Road Warriors past the Blackwater Elite, 115-109, en route to the sole leadership of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup, Sunday evening at the Santa Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Laguna.
The sophomore guard sank back-to-back treys to cap off a 9-1 run, turning a narrow 97-94 lead to a wide 106-95 edge with 5:42 remaining in the game. NLEX then kept the Elite at bay the rest of the way for the victory.
Ravena finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists as the Road Warriors headed to a 3-0 start.
“Overall we liked our start. It’s our best start in a long time,” said coach Yeng Guiao. “I’m happy with our situation.”
Olu Ashaolu top-scored for NLEX with 31 points and 10 rebounds. Kenneth Ighalo and Philip Paniamogan had 12 points apiece. Meanwhile, JR Quiñahan chimed in 10 markers, five boards, and three dimes.
Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. led Blackwater with 28 points, six assists, and four rebounds in the loss that dropped the Elite to 0-2.
Rookie Paul Desiderio finished with a career-high 24 points built on six triples, on top of four boards and four dimes.
Marqus Blakely made up for his four-point outing versus the TNT KaTropa last Wednesday, flirting with a triple-double. He made 18 points, 16 rebounds, and eight assists in 41 minutes.
Both teams had themselves a three-point fest, as NLEX and Blackwater combined for 37 treys made. This is now an all-time league record, eclipsing the 35 made by TNT and San Miguel last June.
“We knew we were shooting our three-point shots well coming into this game, but we never imagined we would some sort of a record together with the other team,” Guiao said.
“It’s a pleasant surprise maybe for the fans because they get to enjoy that kind of shooting performance.”
NLEX will soon fly to Dubai to face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (1-1) on October 5 at the Coca-Cola Arena. Meanwhile, Blackwater will play NorthPort (1-1) on the same date at Ynares Center in Antipolo.
NLEX (115) — Ashaolu 31, Ravena 25, Paniamogan 12, Ighalo 12, Quinahan 10, Varilla 7, Lao 6, Fonacier 5, Galanza 5, Paredes 2, Miranda 0, Cruz 0, Soyud 0.
Blackwater (109) — Parks 28, Desiderio 24, Blakely 18, Maliksi 13, Belo 9, Cruz 8, Sumang 3, Cortez 2, Al-Hussaini 2, Alolino 2, DiGregorio 0, Dario 0, Javier 0.
Quarterscores: 19-25; 52-46; 85-81; 115-109.