By Jonas Terrado
Games Tomorrow (Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
4:15 p.m. – Phoenix vs Kia
7 p.m. – Meralco vs San Miguel
BOCAUE, Bulacan – Rookie Kiefer Ravena made the telling blows late after taking a backseat for his veteran teammates for most of the second half and NLEX made its Christmas Day a merry one with a 115-104 victory over GlobalPort to remain unbeaten in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Philippine Arena here.
Ravena hit a three-pointer and a breakaway dunk inside the final two minutes, sealing the Road Warriors’ second straight win in the conference after JR Quinahan, Larry Fonacier and Michael Miranda kept the Road Warriors ahead amid several comeback attempts by the Batang Pier in the fourth quarter.
Quinahan had 19 points and nine rebounds, Fonacier hit 12 points while Miranda, a quiet addition from Phoenix in an offseason, was one of three players who scored eight points in 26 minutes for NLEX.
Ravena topscored with 20 points apart from having five assists and four steals, but his contributions were hardly felt unlike in his pro debut six days ago when he made 18 points and 12 assists in the season-opening win over Kia.
“He knows how to take care of himself in the league,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao, who used the second overall pick in the draft for more than 29 minutes. “It’s giving guys like Michael Miranda and Fonzo Gotladera some time. Winning and beig able to use a deep rotation is big.”
Gotladera had eight points and five rebounds in 15 minutes.
Stanley Pringle scored a game-high 33 points, oftentimes being the lone man in charge of trying to put GlobalPort back from a 12-point deficit while missing ace scorer Terrence Romeo to a knee contusion.
Sean Anthony had 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists and Jonathan Grey hit 13 points for the GlobalPort squad once again coached by Pido Jarencio.
Quinahan went 9-of-20 from the field, making baskets on a consistent basis since the opening tipoff that allowed NLEX to gain a 69-57 lead in the third.
The Batang Pier got to within four, 99-95, on a Pringle layup with 4:22 remaining in the fourth, but Fonacier nailed a three-pointer 17 seconds later to give the Road Warriors some breathing room.
NLEX 115 – Ravena 20, Quiñahan 19, Fonacier 12, Tiongson 10, Alas 9, Baguio 8, Gotladera 8, Miranda 8, Mallari 6, Monfort 5, Rios 5, Taulava 3, Al-Hussaini 2.
GLOBALPORT 104 – Pringle 33, Anthony 19, Grey 13, Nabong 9, Araña 8, Elorde 5, Guinto 4, Juico 4, Taha 4, Flores 2, Sargent 2, Gabayni 1.
Quarters: 25-25; 50-45; 84-76; 115-104.