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    NLEX revives playoff hopes by toppling TNT in ill-tempered affair

    Oct 29, 2020

    NLEX handed TNT its first defeat thine PBA Philippine Cup, 109-98, on Thursday to claim just its second win in the bubble at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.

    Kevin Alas and Jericho Cruz came up big in the second half as the Road Warriors caught a big fish in the Tropang GIGA, who lost for the first time after starting the conference with five straight victories.

    Alas scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half, shaking off an injury scare when he collided with Jayson Castro before the end of the second quarter.

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    Cruz also made a huge impact in the win as the former TNT cager finished with 19 points, while burying key baskets in the fourth period of a match marred by a commotion in the third quarter sparked by a foul by NLEX rookie Will McAlovey that led to a bad fall by Ray Parks.

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    TNT’s loss came after a one-week break as its match against NorthPort a few days ago was postponed due to precautionary measures inside the bubble.

    The loss also spoiled the return of Jayson Castro after he sat out in the Tropang GIGA’s match against Blackwater due to a calf injury. He had a game-high 27 points.

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      NLEX coach Yeng Guiao heaved a sigh of relief after only their second win in seven games, but admitted that TNT wasn't as sharp as usual.

      “I think this is the proudest I’ve been since we’ve been in the bubble,” said Guiao. “We did a good job on defense but I think Talk ‘N Text has been playing really well in the past three weeks probably that we are in the bubble.

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      "There’s bound to be a bad night for them. We just caught them on their bad night.”

      The Road Warriors outscored the Tropang GIGA, 29-16, in the second quarter for a 53-48 advantage. Alas had 11 in the fourth quarter and Cruz scored nine including a three-pointer with 2:22 left that put NLEX up by nine points, 101-92.

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      Emotions ran high when McAloney fouled Parks, sending the TNT cager to the floor. Castro confronted McAloney before being pacified by two NLEX players while Guiao and Jay Washington had a heated exchange of words.

      Late in the game, Parks and JR Quinahan also had an altercation and both were slapped with flagrant fouls penalty one.

      The scores:

      NLEX 109 – Alas 24, Cruz 19, Ravena 16, Miranda 8, Ayonayon 8, Quinahan 8, Semerad 7, Soyud 6, McAloney 6, Varilla 5, Porter 2, Ighalo 0.

      TNT 98 – Castro 27, Pogoy 16, Parks 15, Enciso 11, Rosario 11, Erram 9, Reyes 7, De Leon 2, Semerad 0, Washington 0.

      Quarters: 24-32; 53-48; 75-67; 109-98.

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