Kiefer Ravena took charge when it mattered the most, drilling the turnaround jumper over the outstretched arms of Chris Newsome with 0.9 seconds to spare and lifting NLEX to a thrilling 87-85 victory over Meralco Friday in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at Cuneta Astrodome.
The super-rookie topped the Road Warriors with 21 points, seven rebounds, and four assists as he commandeered his team’s belated run after staring at a 10-point deficit midway in the fourth period.
With NLEX trailing 72-82, Ravena seized the spotlight and led the 13-0 blast to grab the lead, including a gutsy go-ahead trey with 43.4 seconds remaining to push the Road Warriors up, 83-82.
Baser Amer committed a turnover on the other end which led to JR Quiñahan extending the NLEX lead to three, 85-82, but Newsome kept the Bolts alive as he completed the and-one play off of a Ravena foul to knot the score at 85 in the last 15.3 ticks.
That was all the time the two-time UAAP MVP needed to atone for his miscue, taking control of the rock and propelling the Road Warriors to an even 4-4 slate.
Larry Fonacier went perfect from downtown with his 4-of-4 sniping and wound up with 17 markers and six boards.
Kevin Alas added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Alex Mallari had 12 markers and 10 boards for NLEX.
Meralco could not sustain its hot start where it erected an 18-point lead in the first half, spoiling the big night from seldom-used Nico Salva who fired a career-best 20 points on an efficient 9-of-12 shooting.
Newsome had 15 markers, 10 rebounds, and seven assists, while Amer got 14 points and five boards in the Bolts’ third straight defeat to drop to 2-6.
NLEX 87 — Ravena 21, Fonacier 17, Alas 15, Mallari 12, Al-Hussaini 6, Quiñahan 6, Baguio 4, Gotladera 2, Miranda 2, Monfort 2, Uyloan 0, Soyud 0, Taulava 0.
MERALCO 85 — Salva 20, Newsome 15, Amer 14, Hugnatan 10, Lanete 10, Caram 7, Canaleta 4, Hodge 3, Bono 2, Dillinger 0, Tolomia 0.
Quarters: 10-26, 38-37, 62-65, 87-85.