NLEX Road Warriors made its way into the semifinals for the first time in franchise history after squeaking past the Alaska Aces, 87-83, in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum Wednesday evening.
The result thus rewarded NLEX a Final Four ticket for the first time since entering the league four years ago, facing the red-hot Magnolia Hotshots in a best-of-seven showdown.
Kevin Alas produced 18 points, nine boards, and one steal in 30 minutes, while Michael Miranda added 12 points and three rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench, as the duo conspired in the clutch to get away from the revenge-hungry Aces for good to complete a two-game sweep.
With Alaska leading by three, 83-80, Ravena found Miranda for a booming three-pointer that sparked a 7-0 spurt before Alas ended it with a difficult layup that served as the final nail in the coffin.
JR Quiñahan had 16 points, five boards, two assists, and one steal, while Kiefer Ravena put up 11 points, seven assists, and two steals in 29 minutes off the bench for the Road Warriors.
Meanwhile, Calvin Abueva topbilled for Alaska with 17 points, 16 boards, and one block. Ping Exciminiano contributed 12 points, while Jvee Casio and Kevin Racal made 10 markers that just went for naught.
NLEX 87 – Alas 18, Quiñahan 16, Miranda 12, Ravena 11, Mallari 8, Fonacier 7, Soyud 5, Tiongson 3, Ighalo 3, Al.Hussaini 2, Taulava 2, Baguio 0, Gotladera 0.
ALASKA 83 – Abueva 17, Exciminiano 12, Casio 10, Racal 10, Manuel 9, Thoss 8, Banchero 8, Baclao 4, Enciso 2, Cruz 2, Magat 1, Teng 0, J. Pascual 0.
Quarter scores: 24-23, 49-43, 68-71, 87-83.