NLEX escapes Magnolia to bag Game 1

NLEX escapes Magnolia to bag Game 1”

The Road Warriors came to within four, 66-62, with 1:14 to play in the third quarter, but it was the closest they could come as the Hotshots came firing back to douse the NLEX rally with Simon unloading all his eight points in the fourth quarter.

Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) survived Magnolia, 88-87, on Saturday in Game 1 of their best-of-seven semifinal series in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 43 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

His team behind by 1, Mallari buried the dagger off a Ravena kick-out pass to put NLEX in front 86-84.

"This is an adventure for us".

Two free throws by Ravena and key defensive stop in the dying seconds iced the game for the Road Warriors in their first appearance in the semifinals.

Jalolon also had 10 assists and six rebounds.

But Ravena stripped Rafi Reavis as he tried to dribble down court, effectively giving NLEX the win.

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"So we really worked hard on our execution and at the same time, sinubukan naming humanap ng paraan para ma-control si Paul [Lee] and we actually succeeded at least partly and we won the game", he added.

The super rookie's pass to Alex Mallari led to an assist, as the latter made a lead-gaining triple with 14 ticks to go, 86-84, and his flawless shots from the foul line, with less than seven seconds left, set up the stage for the victory.

Mallari, a former Magnolia player, ended up with 14 points.

"I think we're undermanned, and I think we are underdogs in the series because of Ping and Justin", Victolero said. "This is our first so they will have the edge in experience", Guiao said.

"Sabi ko nga the pressure is on them, kasi kami nag-e-enjoy lang kami dito and we'll just take it as far as we can take it".

Mallari finished with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, five rebounds, and two assists, while Ravena added 16 markers, including 11 in the payoff period, and two from the charity stripe that gave the Road Warriors a two-possession 88-84 lead - enough cushion to shrug off a late triple by Paul Lee.

The Road Warriors limited Magnolia's top guards Lee and Mark Barroca to 8 and 9 points, respectively, on a combined 7-of-20 shooting and forced the Hotshots to 22 turnovers, which translated to 14 points.

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