By Adrian Stewart Co
NLEX Road Warriors bucked the absence of Kiefer Ravena to defeat Alaska Aces, 84-74, in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup yesterday at the Don Honorio Victoriano State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
JR Quiñahan top-scored with 18 points and four rebounds, while Kevin Alas added 17 markers as the Road Warriors got back on the winning track to improve to 3-2 win-loss slate.
Ilonggo Jericho Cruz and Kenneth Ighalo also came alive offensively in the fourth quarter for the Road Warriors as they finished the match with 15 markers apiece.
The Road Warriors were without Ravena, who is currently in Japan for his stint with Shiga Lakestars in the B.League, as well as injured Negrense center Raul Soyud and Anthony Semerad.
Both team traded leads in the first half before the Aces surged to a 52-42 lead in the third quarter. The Road Warriors retaliated with a rally behind Alas, Quiñahan and Cruz for a 59-55 lead.
NLEX widened the lead to 62-55 early in the fourth on a triple by Ighalo but Alaska leaned on consecutive shots from Michael Digregorio to take the lead at 66-64.
Ighalo then converted five straight points, while Cruz and Alas also made their shots to stretch the lead to 10 points at 84-74 on two free throws from Quiñahan.
Maverick Ahanmisi tallied 17 points to spearhead the Aces, which dropped to 2-4 with the loss, while Digregorio added 16 markers, mostly in the fourth quarter.
On Wednesday, Chris Newsome scored on a buzzer-beating layup as the Meralco Bolts (5-1) handed Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok (4-1) its first loss.
Terrafirma Dyip (1-4), on the other hand, leaned on the career-game of Juan Miguel Tiongson to score a come-from-behind 110-104 overtime upset over San Miguel Beermen (3-2)./ASC, WDJ