PBA: NLEX storms back to nip Terrafirma
MANILA, Philippines–NLEX put on the heat in the second half to pull the rug from under Terrafirma, 105-102, as the Road Warriors got their PBA Philippine Cup campaign off to a rousing start on Wednesday afternoon.
JR Quinahan got going in the third frame helping NLEX outscore the enemy, 40-29. Calvin Oftana then poured 18 of his 20 points in the final frame to put the finishing touches on a thrilling comeback win at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Kevin Alas turned in a game-high 24 points in a contest that coach Yeng Guiao feels his charges would’ve won easily if not for a tentative first two quarters.
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“Very happy with the way we won. You could see the character of the team,” he said in the post-game presser. “We showed we could come back from 16 points down. So I look at it as a good sign.”
“We could’ve notched this win with ease if not for a terrible first half,” he added of the tentative first two quarters, where NLEX trailed by double digits.
Veteran Aldrech Ramos finished with 18 points for Terrafirma. Newly-minted Most Improved Player Juami Tiongson chipped in just as much in the losing effort.
Ed Daquioag hit an off-balanced triple to bring the Terrafirma within 103-101 with seven ticks remaining. A couple of Justin Chua turnovers made things even more interesting but the Road Warriors prevailed, all thanks to the pair of freebies that Oftana hit down the stretch.
NLEX will shoot for a second-straight victory when it plays powerhouse San Miguel Beer this Friday at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Terrafirma, meanwhile, will try to make the win column when it takes on NorthPort this Saturday also at the hilltop venue.
NLEX 105 – Alas 24, Oftana 20, Quiñahan 18, Trollano 15, Chua 13, Rosales 7, Paniamogan 5, Nieto 3, Miranda 0, Varilla 0, Soyud 0, Ighalo 0, Semerad 0.
Terrafirma 102 – Tiongson 18, Ramos 18, Munzon 15, Daquioag 14, Gabayni 12, Cahilig 7, Go 7, Camson 5, Gomez de Liaño 4, Balagasay 2, Calvo 0, Enriquez 0, Mina 0.
Quarters: 17-18, 47-31, 76-71, 105-102.