Jericho Cruz converted a putback off Kiefer Ravena’s missed free throw to complete NLEX’s 26-point fightback against Magnolia and give the Road Warriors a 86-85 victory, Sunday in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
With his team down by 2, 85-83, after Paul Lee scored on a gutsy drive, Ravena was fouled by Mark Barroca during a jumpball situation and went on to make the first of two free throws. The 26-year national team player, however, missed on the second one but Cruz was there for the game-winner.
The win improved the Road Warriors’ record to a league-leading 8-1 and assured the Yeng Guiao-mentored squad of a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals. The Hotshots, on the other hand, dropped to 5-5 with only one game left on their elimination round schedule.
“It is really a fantastic game. I’ve been coaching for so long but these games are rare. It’s a treat for the fans. Kahit anong side kinampihan mo, I’m sure nabuhay ang dugo mo, you felt excitement, I’m sure you appreciate the effort ng lahat ng naglaro,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao.
Manny Harris paced the Road Warriors with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 10 assists and 2 steals while JR Quinahan added 14. Cruz finished with 13 while Ravena and Poy Erram contributed 7 markers apiece.
Lee led the Hotshots with 24 points, including the team’s last 5, while Ian Sangalang and Romeo Travis chipped in 19 and 13 points, respectively.
The defending champions take on skidding TNT for their last game on Saturday, November 16 at the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) Gym in Davao City.
NLEX 86 – Harris 22, Quinahan 14, Cruz 13, Erram 7, Ravena 7, Galanza 6, Paniamogan 5, Soyud 4, Ighalo 4, Miranda 4, Baguio 0, Fonacier 0.
Magnolia 85 – Lee 24, Sangalang 19, Travis 13, Barroca 10, Banchero 7, Pingris 5, Melton 4, Abundo 3, Reavis 0, Dela Rosa 0.
Quarterscores: 16-39, 29-51, 57-71, 86-85.