Kevin Alas kick-started the NLEX engine that ran over Alaska, 106-89, for its second win in the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup, Wednesday at the Ynares Center.
The all-around guard produced 15 of his 19 points in the first quarter, shooting three of his side’s seven triples to construct a commanding 38-17 lead as the Road Warriors went on to get their sixth win — and a quarterfinal spot.
Alas shot 50-percent from the floor and also collected four assists and three rebounds in a turnover-less performance in 30 minutes.
“Starting out strong has been our battle cry ever since we lost to Phoenix. We started out badly in that game,” said head coach Yeng Guiao, referring to that Christmas Day loss to Phoenix. “So we try to remedy that situation.”
KJ McDaniels top-billed with 27 points and 11 rebounds in the victory that put NLEX at third in the standings with a 6-3 record.
Jericho Cruz finished with 21 points, including back-to-back treys with less than five minutes left that doused cold water to an Aces rally that saw them knock within 13, 77-90, after being by 29 points late in the third canto.
The Road Warriors have strung together wins despite the fact that they’re missing Calvin Oftana, Tony Semerad, and Michael Miranda to injuries.
“I’m satisfied. We lost, actually, three key players — Mike Miranda, Tony Semerad, and Calvin Oftana. And yet, we’re able to compensate for their losses. Malaking bagay para sa amin yun,” Guiao said.
NLEX has two games remaining on its calendar. It takes on Rain or Shine this Friday at 3 p.m. at the same venue, before battling Ginebra on March 4 at SMART Araneta Coliseum — games crucial for its Top Four hopes.
“Last two games namin, we’ll see how far we can get,” said Guiao. “We’re trying to preserve our incentive — if you’re in the Top Four, you have some incentive so that’s what we’re looking for now.”
Abu Tratter led Alaska with 17 points in their first defeat since the team’s announcement that it will retire from the league after the conference.
Olu Ashaolu was the only other double-digit scorer with 14 points for the Aces, who failed to replicate their come-from-behind win over Terrafirma last Saturday as they dropped to fourth in the standings with a 5-3 record.
Alaska shoots to get back on track on Saturday against the second-running Meralco at 4:00 p.m., still at the Ynares Center.
NLEX 106 – McDaniels 27, Cruz 21, Alas 19, Trollano 10, Ighalo 6, Soyud 5, Nieto 5, Rosales 5, Porter 4, Murrell 2, Magat 2, Varilla 0, Quiñahan 0.
Alaska 89 – Tratter 17, Ashaolu 14, Teng 9, Bulanadi 8, Digregorio 7, Racal 7, Faundo 6, Herndon 6, Ilagan 4, Taha 4, Ahanmisi 3, Adamos 2, Tolomia 2, Stockton 0, Marcelino 0.
Quarterscores: 38-17, 58-42, 88-61, 106-89.
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