Kiefer Ravena hit a tough, contested game-winning jumper to lift the NLEX Road Warriors to an 87-85 victory over the Meralco Bolts in their thrilling showdown on a Friday night in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
As a result, the Road Warriors have now made it two victories in a row to go up to 4-4, while sinking Meralco further in the team standings with their sixth loss against only two wins.
It was a difficult win for NLEX, which clawed back from an 18-point deficit early before uncorking a huge rally down the stretch that was punctuated by Ravena’s game-winner.
The NLEX rookie finished with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, seven boards, four assists, one steal, against only one turnover in 29 minutes off the bench. Larry Fonacier backed him up with 17 points highlighted with four triples, on top of six boards, and one block.
Despite surrendering an 18-point advantage in the first half, the Bolts appeared safe after erecting an 82-72 barrier midway through the payoff period.
But the lead was erased quickly as well as the Road Warriors went on a 13-0 blast, iced by a three-pointer from Ravena that earned them a three-point, 85-82 lead with 43 ticks.
Chris Newsome, though, connected on a three-point play for Meralco in the last 15 seconds to tie the game at 85-all, that was broken by Ravena’s game-winning jumper with less than a second left.
The loss thus spoiled Nico Salva career-high of 20 points. Newsome almost had a triple-double of 15 markers, 10 boards and seven assists, while Baser Amer contributed 14 points for the Bolts.
NLEX 87 — Ravena 21, Fonacier 17, Alas 15, Mallari 12, Al-Hussaini 6, Quiñahan 6, Baguio 4, Gotladera 2, Miranda 2, Monfort 2, Uyloan 0, Soyud 0, Taulava 0.
MERALCO 85 — Salva 20, Newsome 15, Amer 14, Hugnatan 10, Lanete 10, Caram 7, Canaleta 4, Hodge 3, Bono 2, Dillinger 0, Tolomia 0.
Quarter scores : 10-26, 38-37, 62-65, 87-85.