NLEX Road Warriors 119 – Kia Picanto 115
The NLEX Road Warriors needed a second-quarter comeback from Kiefer Ravena and a clutch dagger from Larry Fonacier to get past the tough Kia Picanto.
Ravena got his PBA career started with an assist to Raul Soyud and back-to-back three-pointers from the right wing. But even with that good start from the NLEX rookie, it was the Kia Picanto that was on fire in the opening period. Eric Camson and Rashawn McCarthy powered Kia to a 40-point quarter and the lead. The Picanto continued to play well in the opening minutes of the second period, erecting a double-digit lead midway through the quarter. That’s when Ravena woke up.
Ravena scored on a floater to get things started. He followed it up with a wrap-around scoop shot and then found Rabeh Al-Hussaini for a three-pointer to cut the Kia lead down to just four points heading into the half. From that point on, it was a neck-and-neck game between both teams. The score was tied heading into the final minutes of the game when Fonacier unleashed a four-point bomb to give NLEX the cushion they needed to pull off the win.
Ravena finished with a double-double, 18 points and 12 assists to go with seven boards and two steals. He was awarded Player of the Game and more importantly, got the win in his first pro game.
Magnolia Hotshots 108 – Alaska Aces 95
Paul Lee was on fire to open the Magnolia Hotshots Philippine Cup campaign. He erupted for 30 points hitting six treys to power his team to a big win over the Alaska Aces.
Alaska looked ready to bounce back this conference after a miserable end to their last season. Jeron Teng got the ball rolling with a midrange jumper to open the game. Alaska then leaned on old reliables as Jvee Casio and Calvin Abueva led them on a big run. Teng scored on an and-one play to give the Aces a double-digit lead, 20-10. Magnolia found their bearings in the second quarter. They made an effort to get the ball inside for better looks at the hoop. They overtook Alaska and built a 10-point lead heading into the half.
The Aces tried to get back in the game but Paul Lee and Bambam Gamalinda’s hot shooting kept them at bay. Lee scored seven straight points to help increase Magnolia’s lead to 16. Abueva, Casio and Vic Manuel continued to soldier on in the final period. They were able to cut the Hotshot lead down to just eight points but Lee let loose a corner three-pointer to shut the door on the Aces.