NLEX notches second straight restart victory, whips Phoenix
NLEX tabbed its second straight victory at the expense of Phoenix Super LPG, 94-76, in the PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday night, allowing coach Yeng Guiao to be optimistic about the team’s future without star guard Kiefer Ravena.
“It’s our defensive intensity, our desire to win [and] the challenges posed to us playing without Kiefer (Ravena)” that’s inspiring the Road Warriors, said Guiao shortly after the lone PBA match at Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor.
“We have to start defining ourselves without Kiefer from here on [out],” he added.
The day’s other game that would have featured San Miguel Beer battling Alaska was scrapped in accordance with the league’s health protocols.
Jericho Cruz and Raul Soyud starred for NLEX this time out, as the team turned in a commendable follow up to Thursday’s 84-74 victory over the Aces led by Kevin Alas, JR Quiñahan and Kenneth Ighalo.
Cruz, one of Ravena’s backcourt relievers, finished with 19 points, as Soyud chipped in 17 more despite a bum ankle to help push the Road Warriors to a 4-2 record, good for solo fourth.
NLEX also drew double-digit scores from Quiñahan and Alas, but it was the tandem of Cruz and Soyud—and the effort they put on the defensive end—that spurred the Road Warriors’ run in the second half.
“We played better in the second half. We knew Matthew (Wright) was a key player. We knew Vic (Manuel) was a key player. We had schemes for both,” Guiao said. “I think that’s the reason why we put some distance.”
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