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NLEX rallies late to go 1-0 up against Alaska


The last time they played, Alaska fell short of rallying back.

This time around, NLEX completed an endgame rally to frustrate the Aces anew and place them one win away from the semifinals.

The Road Warriors came back from a late deficit to defeat the Aces, 105-99, at the start of the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Monday night.

NLEX ended the game on a 13-3 run to take a 1-0 lead in its best-of-three series against Alaska.

The Aces were up, 96-92, with 2:52 remaining in the game.

But a four-point play from Larry Fonacier sparked the crucial 9-0 run that put the Road Warriors ahead, 101-96, with 11 seconds left.

Simon Enciso kept Alaska in the game with a triple with nine seconds to go that cut the lead to two, 101-99, but Kiefer Ravena made two free throws plus a game-saving steal from Enciso to seal the victory.

Ravena finished with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting with one rebound, eight assists, and one steal, while Fonacier added 18 points, nine rebounds, and one assist for NLEX, which can clinch a semifinal spot with a win in Game 2 on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Chris Banchero chipped in 20 markers, five boards, one assist, and four swipes for Alaska.

Box Scores:

NLEX 105-Ravena 25, Fonacier 18, Alas 17, Quiñahan 12, Miranda 10, Baguio 8, Al-Hussaini 4, Taulava 4, Soyud 4, Tiongson 3, Mallari 0, Gotladera 0

Alaska 99-Banchero 20, Abueva 18, Enciso 16, Manuel 13, Thoss 11, Casio 8, Magat 4, Teng 4, Racal 4, Baclao 1, Exciminiano 0, Cruz 0

Quarterscores: 24-22, 50-40, 74-72, 105-99 (PNA)