MANILA (UPDATED) - The NLEX Road Warriors used a big second half to defeat the TerraFirma Dyip, 108-94, on Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Down 44-41 at the half, NLEX outscored TerraFirma 32-23 in the pivotal third frame to take control of the game. The victory hiked their record in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup to 2-1, and allowed them to bounce back from a 110-93 loss to San Miguel Beer in their previous game.
Kevin Alas led the way for NLEX with 21 points, five assists and three steals, while JR Quinahan added 19 points. Rookie Calvin Oftana (16), Jericho Cruz (15) and Anthony Semerad (13) all reached double digits for the Road Warriors.
"Malakas na team 'tong TerraFirma. I think their rookies, their young guys have potential. They put up a good fight, actually," NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said after the game.
Guiao pointed to TerraFirma's hot three-point shooting in the first half as the crucial factor. The Dyip made seven of their 16 attempts from beyond the arc in the first two quarters, with veteran forward Aldrech Ramos going three-of-three and rookie Joshua Munzon adding two triples of his own.
But they cooled down in the second half, making just three of ten attempts while NLEX knocked down seven three-pointers.
"We just tried to hang in there," said Guiao. "We put on the extra effort to stop them from sustaining their very high percentage from the three-point line in the second half."
"So noong medyo bumagsak na 'yung three-point shooting nila, medyo naka-bwelo na kami, tapos kami, nakakuha rin kami ng sarili naming three-points. I think that was the key," the coach added.
The Road Warriors took the lead for good off a Quinahan layup with eight minutes to go in the third quarter, 51-50. They went on to lead by as much as 16 points, 98-82, with just under five minutes to play thanks to a layup by Cruz.
TerraFirma actually came to within five points twice, at 80-75 and again at 83-78, but NLEX had an answer every time. They last threatened when Roosevelt Adams made it 88-80 with seven minutes to go, but Quinahan knocked down a three-pointer to push the lead to double digits again.
Munzon, the top overall pick in the recent PBA Rookie Draft, had his best game yet for TerraFirma with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting, making three triples. Ramos finished with 17 points, but the Dyip shot only 38% from the field as their offense faltered in the second half.
The Dyip are now 0-2 in the conference.