MANILA - The NLEX Road Warriors overpowered the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, 94-75, for their first win of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Kevin Alas put up 20 points, three assists and two rebounds, and Kiefer Ravena added 19 points, five assists, and three steals as the Road Warriors bounced back from a sorry 83-82 defeat to Rain or Shine on Friday.
"I expected us to play decently, pero 'di ko inaasahan na ganoon kalaki ang lamang namin," NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said.
But the coach also called it the "luck of the draw," noting that they were fortunate to play Ginebra this early in the season. The Gin Kings were playing their first game of the All-Filipino Conference.
"Buti medyo malamig pa sila sa ngayon. But in two or three games, I'm sure 'yung kanilang pedigree lalabas," said Guiao.
The Road Warriors got off to a quick 12-0 start but Ginebra recovered in the second quarter, where they were able to take a 35-34 lead off a Japeth Aguilar and-one. But NLEX ended the frame on a strong note, with Ravena anchoring a 7-0 blast to give his team a 41-35 lead at the half.
NLEX then broke the game open in the third quarter where they outscored Ginebra 31-20, even taking a 20-point lead, 72-52, late in the period. The Gin Kings never got closer than 13 points in the fourth frame, and Tim Cone emptied his bench in the final minute as the game was no longer in doubt.
"I want to give credit to the way we played defense… Our defense held up," said Guiao. "It was a good way to get back from our sorry loss, from our first game against Rain or Shine. So magandang bawi itong game na 'to."
Anthony Semerad, who missed a potential game-winning bucket against Rain or Shine, contributed 11 points. JR Quinahan had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
NLEX limited Ginebra to just 34% shooting from the field. Aguilar led the defending champions in scoring with 15 points, while Scottie Thompson added 12 points, 12 rebounds, and just missed a triple-double with nine assists.
Stanley Pringle was limited to eight points, while Christian Standhardinger, in his Ginebra debut, had eight points and 10 rebounds.