PBA: Kevin Alas stars as NLEX thumps Magnolia to send series to decider | Inquirer Sports

PBA: Kevin Alas stars as NLEX thumps Magnolia to send series to decider

NLEX Road Warriors' Kevin Alas.

NLEX Road Warriors’ Kevin Alas. –PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines–Kevin Alas returned to action in a massive way as NLEX mauled Magnolia, 90-77, on Friday to force a rubber match in their 2022 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal series at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

Alas dropped 22 of his career-high 30 points during a fiery first half that keyed the convincing outcome that kept alive the Road Warriors’ campaign in the season-opening conference.

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Playing in the place where he became an NCAA star for Letran, Alas made sure the rare visit to the San Juan venue would count after missing the last three games.

He sat the final two games of the eliminations due to a hip injury before being placed under health and safety protocols when NLEX absorbed a 98-89 defeat in Game 1.

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NLEX, which blown a number of big leads in the eliminations, was glad that the margin was enough to send the series to a deciding Game 3 on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“We have a tendency to lose our lead against Magnolia because of their pressure defense. But this time, we were able to react well against their pressure,” said coach Yeng Guiao, whose team lost a 14-point halftime lead during their lone elims matchup against the Hotshots.

Magnolia got within nine almost two minutes into the fourth, 75-66, on a long two by Jio Jalalon. But NLEX countered with a 13-2 run behind seven from Tony Semerad and four from Alas to prevent any meltdown.

Magnolia saw its eight-game winning streak come to an end after allowing 90 points for the first time this conference.

Calvin Abueva finished with 20 points for the Hotshots while Game 1 hero Mark Barroca was held to only four points.

The scores:

NLEX 90 — Alas 30, Oftana 10, Semerad 9, Varilla 8, Trollano 8, Quinahan 8, Chua 6, Nieto 6, Miranda 3, Rosales 2, Paniamogan 0, Ighalo 0.

MAGNOLIA 77 — Abueva 20, Lee 12, Dionisio 11, Sangalang 10, Jalalon 7, Reavis 4, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 4, Wong 3, Corpuz 2, Brill 0, Ahanmisi 0, Zaldivar 0, Escoto 0.

Quarters: 25-18, 55-32, 73-59, 90-77.

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TAGS: Kevin Alas, Magnolia Hotshots, NLEX Road Warriors
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