Kevin Alas was the stabilizing presence NLEX needed to outlast Converge in a down-the-wire affair, 116-112, to snap out of a two-game slide in the PBA Governors’ Cup, Saturday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The soon-to-be All-Star dropped 31 points as he came through with the most important plays in the final minute that ultimately enabled the Road Warriors to overcome the opposition, the erstwhile second-seed in the standings.
He made sure not to waste Tony Semerad’s go-ahead bucket, forcing Jamaal Franklin to a turnover to regain possession and knock a booming trifecta to stretch their lead to 113-109 with 38.2 seconds remaining.
And when the former NBA cager pulled the FiberXers to within a point behind his own triple, the 31-year-old guard coolly nailed both of his free throws to make it a three-point gap, 115-112, with 19.6 seconds left to play.
“Ibang level of effort yung pinakita nila. Buti nalang meron kaming Kevin Alas, you know,” said head coach Frankie Lim.
Wayne Selden, Jr. top-scored for NLEX with 35 points, including the free throw that settled the final count and sealed his first PBA win after two failed tries. He also had seven rebounds, six assists, and eight steals.
“It’s our first win with Wayne, at the same time motivated din kami na bigyan siya ng first win namin,” said Alas of the ex-NBA pro.
Kris Rosales had 17 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Semerad made 16 points while Brandon Rosser added 10 markers and seven boards in the win that helped the Road Warriors dislodge their foes at third in the standings.
Converge, meanwhile, fell to no. 4 after failing to sustain the momentum it had from its huge upset of San Miguel exactly a week ago.
Franklin led the FiberXers with 53 points and 11 rebounds but committed 12 turnovers, which tied the second-most TOs by an import in 26 years or since Tee McClary also had 12 with Mobiline back in the 1997 Governors’ Cup.
He tied the franchise record for most three-pointers with nine — first set by Quincy Miller — but needed 24 attempts. His team had 35 tries.
Maverick Ahanmisi backed him up with 22 points while Kevin Racal was the only other double-digit scorer for Coach Aldin Ayo with 10 markers in the defeat that saw Converge waste a solid 23-11 start.
NLEX 116 – Selden Jr. 35, Alas 31, Rosales 17, Semerad 16, Ganuelas-Rosser 10, Doliguez 3, Gabo 2, Trollano 2, Paniamogan 0, Pascual 0.
Converge 112 – Franklin 53, Ahanmisi 22, Racal 10, Arana 8, Teng 7, Tratter 5, Ebona 4, Stockton 2, Balanza 1, Murrell 0.
Quarterscores: 23-28, 48-52, 80-80, 116-112
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.