Kiefer Ravena’s big plays down the stretch helped Gilas Pilipinas immensely, as they escaped the gutsy Alaska Aces in an exhibition match, 120-117, Saturday afternoon at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.
The Nationals have now won all three of their tune-up matches in four days. These games are all part of their preparations for the 2017 William Jones Cup in Taiwan, which will raise its curtains next week, Friday, July 15.
Import Mike Myers top-billed Gilas’ balanced attack with 17 markers on 10 shots alongside 18 rebounds. Christian Standhardinger made 15 points and 15 caroms, while Carl Cruz and Matthew Wright scored 15 as well.
Gilas were already ahead, 111-103, with 4:34 to go in the final period, but Alaska, through their pressing defense, stormed back via 14-6 scoring spree ended by LaDontae Henton’s lay-up to snatch the lead, 117-116, with 48 ticks left.
That, however, proved to be the Aces’ last hurrah. Ravena then took matters in his own hands, pulling up and sinking a cold-blooded triple from the right wing to propel Gilas ahead once more, 119-117, with 28 seconds remaining.
Alaska tried to give another scare, but their shots could not meet the bottom of the net. Ravena once again came up big, this time securing a key rebound off a missed Alaska putback, 12 seconds after his trey.
Standhardinger’s split charities made it 120-117, and Calvin Abueva’s air-balled three-pointer at the other end sealed the morale-boosting victory for Gilas.
The six-foot Ravena finished with 14 points for Team Pilipinas on a notable 5-of-7 shooting from the field to go with three dimes, a steal, and a rebound. Ray Parks, Jr. scattered 12 markers, while Roger Pogoy had nine.
Henton, the Aces’ import in the upcoming PBA Governor’s Cup, powered Alaska with a game-high 40 points. Forwards Abueva and Marion Magat each produced 12 markers.
Gilas (120) – Myers 17, Cruz 15, Wright 15, Standhardinger 15, Ravena 14, Parks 12, Pogoy 9, Belo 6, Tolomia 6, Ferrer 6, Vosotros 3, Paras 2, Daquioag 0, Pessumal 0.
Alaska (117) – Henton 40, Abueva 12, Magat 12, Banchero 11, Enciso 10, Casio 6, Racal 6, Pascual 4, Mendoza 4, Dela Cruz 4, Thoss 3, Galliguez 2, Hontiveros 2, Baclao 1, Exciminiano 0, Andrada 0.
Quarterscores: 28-27, 60-60, 88-93, 120-117.