(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
The Road Warriors hold onto the ugly but important win. Thanks to two former Blue Eagles.
If you just saw the facial expression of Yeng Guiao as he called for a timeout after his team failed to make an inbound pass, then you know that the NLEX Road Warriors were in for another round of rants from their fiery mentor. Why?
After putting up a lead that went as high as 30 points in the second half, the NLEX Road Warriors just watched as the Alaska Aces of Vic Manuel and Calvin Abueva cut that lead down to a single possession, at 91-89 with 13 seconds left in the 4th quarter. Only a turnover coming off a timeout from Alaska and two pairs of free throws sealed the deal for NLEX as the Road Warriors escaped with the win, 96-89. This win improved NLEX's standing to 5-4 in the conference while Alaska, despite the loss, stayed in contention for a top 2 finish owing to a 6-3 record- tied with the Magnolia Hotshots.
But why was that an ugly loss? Below are the reasons:
NLEX almost got a taste of their own medicine
The Road Warriors entered the game coming off two come-from-behind wins- one being against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, NLEX saw themselves in the Aces as Alaska continuously forced the Road Warriors into bad shots and silly turnovers thanks to the Aces' suffocating trapping defense which at one point, made Yeng Guiao called a timeout because his boys couldn't make an inbound play.
What was more alarming in the Aces' effort was the fact that Alaska did outscore NLEX, 35-17 in the fourth quarter. The good news though, the Road Warriors are currently in 5th place which means if they get to win their remaining games, they can avoid playing against a team with a twice-to-beat advantage come quarterfinals.
Ugly Outing from Ravena and company
- Kiefer Ravena: 12 points on 4 for 12 field goal shooting
- Larry Fornacier: 15 points on 5 for 13 field goal shooting including 3 for 10 from the three-point line
- JR Quinahan: 12 points on 5 for 13 field goal shooting
Given how horrible the players above were shooting in yesterday's game, it can be considered that they were lucky to have won the game as both Ravena and Fornacier each nailed a pair of free throws to seal the deal. But things could have been easier if Fornacier was able to make more from those 10 attempts that he had from the three-point line. Although Ravena had 6 rebounds and 11 assists, he could have scored more but was limited by the Aces' defense.
The good news for both squads is that they are still in the top 6 of the standings with the Aces still get a chance at finishing the conference as the number 2 team. The Road Warriors, on the other hand, still got a lot of work to do if they are to make a deep run come the playoffs. Fortunately, Yeng Guiao can surely find ways to discipline and motivate players about keeping a big lead instead of seeing opponents come back from a big hole. They were lucky against Alaska. We all know that luck runs out.