PBA: NLEX halts Alaska for 3rd win; Alas, Ighalo step up
MANILA, Philippines—NLEX reeled in its first win without Kiefer Ravena as it stopped Alaska, 84-74, in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Thursday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
A late fourth quarter push saw the Road Warriors chalk two straight wins and improve to a 3-2 record, tying San Miguel for the fifth spot in the standings.
Holding a slim 69-68 lead midway through the fourth, the Road Warriors went on an 11-2 run capped off by a jumper from Jericho Cruz for an 80-71 lead with 3:28 remaining.
Sparingly-used wing Kenneth Ighalo rose to the occasion for NLEX as his layup in that late push gave the Road Warriors a 76-68 lead with 4:56 to play.
— PBA (@pbaconnect) September 2, 2021
Ighalo also finished with 15 points on an efficient 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
“We haven’t given him the opportunity previously but once you give him that he will deliver,” said NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao. “There were many players who arrived at his position like Tony Semerad, Don Trollano, and Calvin Oftana, so his minutes really went down.”
“But he’s proven that he’s able to step up.”
JR Quiñahan also produced big numbers off the bench for the Road Warriors with 18 points while Kevin Alas put up 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Jericho Cruz, who filled in for Ravena’s guard spot, also had 15 points.
Ravena is in Japan to take care of his requirements for the B.League and the Shiga Lakestars as the team’s Asian import for the 2021-22 season.
Maverick Ahanmisi had 17 points and five boards to lead Alaska.
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