Kiefer Ravena makes smashing PBA return as NLEX trips Phoenix
MANILA, Philippines–Kiefer Ravena’s return to the PBA got off the ground Saturday night and the celebrated young talent wasted no time in showing just how big of a factor he is for NLEX.
The Road Warriors, behind Ravena and import Olu Ashaoulu’s exploits, fended off Phoenix Pulse, 123-116, in the PBA Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Ravena, who served an 18-month FIBA suspension, made himself felt early, pouring 14 of his total 20 points in the first half before putting the hurt on the Fuel Masters through his playmaking in the next.
“Kiefer is always going to be a threat going to the basket. So he’s going to attract a lot from the defense and he’s making good decisions spotting open people,” coach Yeng Guiao said of his returning ward.
“That’s something we’ve been missing. We didn’t have that threat, that steadiness in the end-game: A guard who can bring the ball down and make decisions,” he added.
Ashaoulu finished with a team-best 29 points, while three more tossed in twin-digit scores—ones unleashed by Ravena’s playmaking, according to Guiao—for the Road Warriors’ first victory in the Governor’s Cup.
Phoenix’s old reliable Eugene Phelps led the way with 38 points and 10 rebounds, while Matthew Wright added 24, while Justin Chua and Alex Mallari 15 and 14, respectively in the losing stand.
The Fuel Masters managed to narrow the gap halfway through the final frame, but couldn’t get the shots that they needed the most come the final minute.
NLEX looks to build a streak when it plays sister team Meralco on Friday at the fabled Big dome.
Phoenix, meanwhile, tries to bounce back against three-peat seeking San Miguel Beermen the Wednesday before.
NLEX (123) – Ashaolu 29, Ravena 20, Paniamogan 14, Varilla 11, Fonacier 11, Quinahan 10 Cruz 9, Miranda 7, Galanza 6 Ighalo 4, Soyud 2, Erram 0.
Phoenix (116) – Phelps 38, Wright 24, Chua 15, Mallari 14, Garcia 9, Jazul 7, Intal 4, Potts 0, Marcelo 0, Wilson 0, Kramer 0.
Quarterscores: 27-29, 52-55, 94-84, 123-116.
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