NLEX takes series opener

Ravena hit his average with 16 points, but his dish to Alex Mallari for the go-ahead three-pointer and his steal off Rafi Reavis were key in first-time semi-finalist NLEX gaining the headstart in the best-of-seven matchup.

Game 2 is set Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena with NLEX coach Yeng Guiao foremost among those how that one goes.

“As I’ve said before, we’re just in this for the ride,” said Guiao. “This is an adventure for us as a team. We’re just enjoying. Para kaming gatecrashers sa party. Nandito pa rin kami.”

The loss is a sorry one for Magnolia since it looked like it was well on its way to stealing the game after Paul Lee’s own trey made it just an 87-88 count and then Reavis stole the inbound from Cyrus Baguio.

But Ravena came from the blind side and swiped the ball, forcing Lee to give up his last foul on JR Quinahan, only eight-tenths of a second left.

After flubbing the first, Quinahan intentionally missed the second with the ball going to teammate Kevin Alas at the buzzer.

That capped a wild and wooly game which saw both teams struggling in the first half and then engaging in a tight battle through six deadlocks in the second half alone.