MANILA — Kiefer Ravena drained the game-winning shot as NLEX joined an already jam-packed logjam for fifth place with an 87-85 squeaker against Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City Friday night.
Ravena scored on a turnaround jumper with a second left to make up for a late defensive mistake that nearly cost the Road Warriors the outright win in regulation as they sent the Bolts closer to relegation following their Governors’ Cup Finals appearance last conference.
NLEX started the game pretty slow, making only 10 points in the first quarter as Meralco zoomed to a 16-point lead at the end of the quarter.
The team, however, responded with a 28-11 second quarter to take a 38-37 lead at halftime, prompting a tight game for most of the second half.
With the Road Warriors leading, 85-82, Chris Newsome quickly went past Ravena and scored a layup while getting fouled with 15 seconds to go.
Newsome made the bonus free throw to tie the game, 85-all.
Ravena, however, got some space from Newsome after faking a spin move to the right and went for the turnaround shot to put them ahead for good.
With no timeout left, Anjo Caram was forced to go for a desperation heave that he misfired as the clock reached zero.
Ravena finished with 21 points off the bench with seven rebounds, four assists, and one steal as NLEX joined Phoenix, TNT, and Ginebra in the fifth spot at 4-4.
Larry Fonacier went 4-for-4 from downtown and came up with 17 points with six rebounds and one block.
Nico Salva had his best game with Meralco, which slipped to 2-6, after leading the team with 20 markers and two caroms.
Reynel Hugnatan, meanwhile, breached the 5,000 Points Club after making 10 points.
NLEX 87: Ravena 21, Fonacier 17, Alas 15, Mallari 12, Quinahan 6, Al-Hussaini 6, Baguio 4, Miranda 2, Monfort 2, Gotladera 2, Uyloan 0, Taulava 0, Soyud 0
Meralco 85: Salva 20, Newsome 15, Amer 14, Hugnatan 10, Lanete 10, Caram 7, Canaleta 4, Hodge 3, Bono 2, Tolomia 0, Dillinger 0
Quarterscores: 10-26, 38-37, 62-65, 87-85