Expansion team KIA finally learning how to finish with a flourish, says LA Revilla
LA Revilla has become an integral part of the KIA Carnival team. Jerome Ascano

KIA playmaker LA Revilla had seen one too many supposed ‘won’ games slip away from the Carnival’s grasp this season.

No wonder that when NLEX came charging back late in a PBA Governors Cup game on Monday in a game in Antipolo, Revilla was determined to alter the result.

With precious seconds ticking away, the former La Salle point guard lured the defense before making a quick cross-court pass to Hyram Bagatsing, who knocked down the game-winning three-pointer in an exciting 85-82 win over NLEX.

“Siguro kahit paano, nagfa-flash back pa rin sa isip namin 'yung nangyari na dati, na again, we’re in this situation (where they blew a lead late in the game). So we just try to make the most of it na lang,” Revilla said.

[See Bagatsing winning moment represents everything that is good about PBA expansion]

The return to Ynares Center in Antipolo alone served to remind Revilla of KIA’s inexperience and inability to finish off a game against a powerhouse Purefoods Star side on November 26, 2014 during the Philippine Cup.

Playing inspired basketball with playing coach Manny Pacquiao calling the shots, KIA led by as much as nine points and even led by six during the fourth period.

But with Joe Devance and Mark Barroca conniving in a vicious 14-0 tear in the last canto and KIA falling into a maze of turnovers, the Carnival, then known as the Sorento, eventually fell short, 88-77.

Now playing in their third conference in the PBA, Revilla said the Carnival have learned their past failures while their confidence has undoubtedly grown during the Commissioner’s Cup behind the leadership of import Peter John Ramos.

This conference, Ramos is no longer around but the Carnival have a defensive-minded import in Hamady N’Diyae.

“Pareho silang (Ramos and D’Diyae) inside presence, pero totally different style of game talaga. Siyempre, we know with Hamady, it’s defense, pero si PJ, more on offense,” added Revilla, who was selected 23rd overall by GlobalPort in the 2013 PBA Rookie Draft.

KIA currently shares joint fourth and fifth spots with Talk ‘N Text in the standings on 2-1 records.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava