SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – NLEX scored its biggest win of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup after blowing out a weary San Miguel by 34 points, 124-90, Friday at the SMART 5G-powered AUF Sports and Cultural Center.
The Road Warriors pulled away in the first half and never looked back to send the reigning, five-time champions to a two-game skid at this critical juncture of the conference, while further boosting their quarterfinal chances.
NLEX, who was 1-5 at one point in the meet, has now won its third consecutive game, slaying yet another contender as it had taken down TNT Tropang Giga first before beating Rain or Shine last Tuesday.
“Ang laki ng diperensya ng kundisyon namin from three weeks ago. We’re a lot sharper and a lot more cohesive — both on offense and defense now,” said head coach Yeng Guiao moments after the game.
Seven players finished in double figures in the convincing triumph, with big man Michael Miranda leading the pack with a season-best 22 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting — with four coming from deep — alongside seven rebounds.
Kevin Alas flirted with a double-double of 19 points and nine rebounds and also had five assists. His backcourt partner Kiefer Ravena, meanwhile, finished with 14 points, eight boards, and seven dimes.
JR Quinahan supplied 14 markers as well, while Jericho Cruz, who starred in their win over the Elasto Painters with 17 points, chipped in 11 points and seven assists, with three caroms and a steal.
The Road Warriors faced a tired Beermen, who were coming off a tough loss versus Phoenix Super LPG barely 19 hours ago. Seeing such, NLEX took advantage by playing an uptempo ball from the start.
It ended the opening frame with a 36-25 advantage and it would never have any problems since, continuing to pound on their exhausted foes until hitting the 50-point mark, 50-29, early in the second period.
They would enjoy a lead as high as 38 points, 113-75, after a Kenneth Ighalo bucket with 5:51 remaining in the fourth quarter, where San Miguel’s top gunners didn’t play anymore.
NLEX will look to keep its streak going against the Alaska Aces on Monday, Nov. 9, at 4:00 p.m. as the Beermen, who fell to 5-4, will battle Barangay Ginebra in a titanic clash on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 6:45 p.m.
NLEX (124) – Miranda 22, Alas 19, Quinahan 14, Ravena 14, Cruz 11, Semerad 10, Porter 9, Soyud 6, Ighalo 6, McAloney 5, Galanza 4, Paniamogan 2, Taulava 2, Ayonayon 0.
San Miguel (90) – Zamar 23, Pessumal 11, Tautuaa 10, Cabagnot 9, Ross 9, Santos 8, Comboy 8, Alolino 7, Mamaril 4, Gamalinda 1,De Guzman 0, Escoto 0.
Quarterscores : 36-25 ; 67-47 ; 91-65 ; 124-90.