PBA: Alaska moves on after beating NLEX in sudden death
Paul Lintag on Apr 05, 2019 09:00 PM
Alaska used a strong second quarter, limiting the Road Warriors to only eight points, to seize control of the game. The Aces never let go of said control and they cruised to a -point decision.
Alaska is the one to advance.
The Aces needed an extra game but they seal their 2019 PBA Philippine Cup playoff seat nonetheless, dominating NLEX Friday at the MOA Arena, 88-80, to claim the 8th seed.
Both teams tied at 4-7 at the end of the elimination round had to fight for the right to challenge no. 1 Phoenix in the quarterfinals.
Alaska used a strong second quarter, limiting the Road Warriors to only eight points, to seize control of the game. The Aces never let go of said control, leading by as many as 28, as they cruised to a nice win.
Waiting in the next round are the top-ranked Fuel Masters who hold a twice-to-beat advantage.
“Our defense was fantastic in the first half,” head coach Alex Compton said.
“I think NLEX is better than the conference they’ve had, I think we are better than the conference we’ve had. But you know, sometimes, the cards are dealt in a certain way. You gotta deal with them. It just happened that our hand for this game was a bit better,” he added.
Sonny Thoss was the high man for Alaska, leading all scorers with 21 points. Simon Enciso and Carl Bryan Cruz scored 16 apiece for the Aces while Jvee Casio added 13 points for good measure.
After a disastrous second quarter, NLEX never really recovered as the Road Warriors miss the playoffs in the All-Filipino, a far cry from their breakthrough semis stint last season.
Obviously, NLEX is missing some key pieces now but the Road Warriors just failed to punch their ticket while they hand the chance, losing three straight games to end the conference including this sudden death against Alaska.
Kenneth Ighalo led the Road Warriors with 16 points while Bong Galanza added 14.
Alaska 88 - Thoss 21, Enciso 16, Cruz 16, Casio 13, Banchero 4, Baclao 4, Ayaay 4, Racal 3, Exciminiano 3, Teng 2, Potts 2, Pascual 0.
NLEX 80 - Ighalo 16, Galanza 14, Quinahan 13, Erram 10, Paniamogan 8, Magat 7, Rios 5, Baguio 3, Paredes 2, Tiongson 2, Taulava 0, Soyud 0, Tallo 0, Lao 0.
Quarters: 23-17, 44-25, 73-50, 88-80.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8