NLEX ended three games of frustrations by beating NorthPort, 102-88, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
Kiefer Ravena, JR Quinahan, Kevin Alas and Jericho Cruz stood at the forefront of NLEX’s first-ever victory in the NBA-inspired PBA bubble in Pampanga.
Ravena finished with 25 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line to power the Road Warriors of coach Yeng Guiao to a runaway triumph over the Batang Pier. It was a sweet revenge for NLEX since a sorry loss to NorthPort in their quarter-finals matchup in the last PBA Governors’ Cup.
Quinahan added 17 points and five rebounds and Alas contributed a near triple-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Cruz came off the bench to score 10 points. Guiao had good words for his young players, especially Alas.
“That just goes to show his mental toughness,” Guiao said. “More than the physical toughness of Kevin trying to get back to where he was, more than the physical barrier, it’s the mental barrier na na-overcome niya.”
Kevin Ferrer led the Batang Pier with 18 points, including back-to-back three-pointers that kept the game close and interesting early in the payoff period.
Rookie Sean Manganti had 16 points, incuding 2-of-5 shooting from the three-point area., in his best game so far.
But NorthPort’s Christian Standhardinger played his worst game in the bubble with only seven points and 13 rebounds in 39 minutes.
The Fil-German has double-double averages of 21.3 points and 10.6 rebounds.
Also hurting NorthPort’s campaign was the injury suffered by Sean Anthony, who went scoreless in a little over six minutes of action.
Anthony, who left the game with a suspected pulled right hamstring, is averaging 19.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 6.67 assists in their first three outings,
Still the Batang Pier had a chance to take the lead early in the fourth quarter, but Standhardinger missed an easy lay-up with 9:54 left and allowed Raul Soyud a clear basket on the other end of the floor for 79-76 lead for the Road Warriors.
It was all NLEX from there. Meanwhile, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial assured the safety and security all participants after confirming reports that one of its game officials has tested positive of COVID-19.
The PBA was informed of the result 24 hours after the game official took the mandatory swab test along with 27 others last Oct.19.
His previous three tests – all mandatory to enter the bubble — yielded negative results.
Marcial said the game official has already been brought at the Athlete’s Village in Tarlac for quarantine and will be tested today.
First and second layer persons who have been in contact with the game official have already been put in isolation.
They will be retested on Oct. 24. The PBA maintained that a strict protocol in place and it has not been breached.
NLEX (102) – Ravena 25, Quiñahan 17, Alas 16, Cruz 10, Miranda 9, Porter 8, Soyud 7, Ayonayon 6, Ighalo 2, McAloney 2, Galanza 0, Paniamogan 0, Semerad 0.
NorthPort (88) – Ferrer 18, Manganti 16, Lanete 13, Taha 10, Elorde 8, Revilla 8, Standhardinger 7, Subido 6, Nabong 2, Anthony 0, Cruz 0, Guinto 0.
Quarterscores: 20-15, 49- 39, 75-68, 102-88.
(Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena)
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