NLEX overpowered defending champion Brgy. Ginebra, 94-75, in the elimination round of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Kevin Alas scattered 20 points while Kiefer Ravena added 19 as the Road Warriors rebounded mightily from an 83-82 loss to Rain or Shine on opening day.
“I expected us to play decently, pero hindi ko inaasahan na ganoon kalaki ang lamang namin,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao during the post-game presser.
“Buti medyo malamig pa sila sa ngayon. But in two or three games, I’m sure ‘yung kanilang pedigree lalabas,” added the volatile mentor.
The Road Warriors turned a manageable 6-point advantage to close the first half into a 17-point cushion entering the final frame which the crowd darlings found too stiff to overhaul.
“I want to give credit to the way we played defense. Our defense held up. 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 ito,” said Guiao.
Japeth Aguilar paced the still out-of-sync Brgy. Ginebra squad with 15 points while Scottie Thompson and LA Tenorio contributed 12 and 11 markers, respectively. Christian Standharinger debuted with an 8-point, 10-rebound performance while Stanley Pringle and Prince Caperal chipped in 8 points apiece.
The Gin Kings take a four-day rest before returning to the hardcourt on Friday, July 23 to face the Blackwater Bossing.