Ravena hopes Alas can play in do-or-die Game 6 for NLEX
ANTIPOLO — Rookie Kiefer Ravena knows how big of a loss Kevin Alas was for NLEX in Game 5 of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals against Magnolia.
“That was big and it kind of messed up our rotation,” Ravena said after his backcourt partner Alas suffered an apparent knee injury 40 seconds into the game on Sunday.
Ravena even shared that Alas was the one who was encouraging the Road Warriors before the game to come together and start strong in an attempt to light a fire on the players.
But Alas hurt his right knee and Ravena admitted that the absence of Alas took the air out of NLEX.
“He was really motivating us before the game, reminding us to be sharp, and that happens,” said Ravena.
— Randolph B. Leongson (@RLeongsonINQ) March 18, 2018
Despite the loss of Alas, the Road Warriors still kept themselves in the game until the Hotshots went on a telling 16-4 blast to open the fourth quarter for a 75-62 advantage with seven minutes remaining before extending the lead to as high as 18, 84-66.
“It is what it is. Breaks of the game wasn’t going on our side. I would summarize it all in that four-to-five minute stretch where we couldn’t buy baskets,” rued Ravena, who finished the game with 21 points and five assists to lead NLEX.
“Corner threes from Larry (Fonacier) and Alex (Mallari), a layup from Cyrus (Baguio), everyone was missing the shots they normally make. Credit to the defense of Magnolia as well, maybe we’re lower to them percentage-wise offensively. But defensively, we were there. Again, breaks of the game.“
With the loss, the Road Warriors now have their backs against the wall heading into Game 6 on Tuesday.
But rather than mope, Ravena said the team should heed coach Yeng Guiao’s reminders and “take this loss in stride.”
“We’ll learn from it, and probably, we’ll see how it goes in the next game,” he said.
Ravena is also hopeful that Alas’ injury is nothing serious as NLEX needs all hands on deck.
“We’re praying for [Kevin]. He’s an integral part of this system and an integral part of this franchise. We wish him the best and hopefully, he can play next game,” he said.