KIA proved steady in the clutch to outlast Meralco, 88-85, on Wednesday and move a step closer to a breakthrough quarterfinal appearance in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
LA Revilla and Joshua Webb showed steely nerves down the stretch as they provided the offense while Hamady N’Diaye anchored the defense to lead the Carnival to the hard-earned win that allowed them to finish the season-ending conference with a 5-6 win-loss card.
“Lahat ng sakripisyo sa training, nagawa dito sa laro, kaya maganda ang resulta ng game,” said Carnival coach Manny Pacquiao, who attended just his second game this conference.
The result also gave the expansion side a chance to qualify for the next round, but eliminated NLEX has to beat Ginebra in the main event of the doubleheader.
Ginebra will advance to the playoffs with a win over the Road Warriors.
Nevertheless, the Carnival are assured of their best finish in their maiden season in Asia’s first professional league.
“Masaya ako sa pefromance na aking players, masipag sa ensayo at nagawa nilang sundin ang pinapagawa namin sa kanila,” Pacquiao said.
Despite the loss, Meralco (5-6) remained through to the postseason, although the Bolts moved down to seventh seed, setting up a daunting task against second seed and twice-to-beat San Miguel Beer.
In a see-saw battle that saw 13 lead changes and eight deadlocks, it was Webb and Revilla’s clutch shooting that spelled the difference.
Ice cold all-game long, Webb buried a right-wing three-pointer that gave the Carnival the lead for good at 83-80 with 1:14 to go.
Revilla, on the other hand, hit half of his 16 points in the last three minutes—a top-of-the key jumper, a left-handed floater, and four free throws, including two that gave them a three-point lead that ended up as the final score.
Both ably supported N’Diaye, who tallied 24 points, 19 boards, six blocks, and one assist in 45 minutes.
Andre Emmett registered 35 points and 14 boards, while Gary David hit three free throws that pulled the Bolts to within 86-85, but missed a three-pointer in the dying seconds that could’ve forced overtime.
KIA 88 – N'Diaye 24, Revilla 16, Yee 13, Dehesa 10, Buensuceso 8, Avenido 6, Webb 5, Cawaling 2, Pascual 2, Bagatsing 2, Deutchman 0, Chang 0, Alvarez 0
MERALCO 85 – Emmett 35, David 14, Hugnatan 9, Atkins 6, Hodge 5, Dillinger 4, Nabong 3, Guevarra 3, Anthony 2, Ildefonso 2, Cortez 2, Ando 0
Quarterscores: 22-19, 44-41, 61-63, 88-85