By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
No Kiefer Ravena, no problem.
Despite the absence of its main gunner, the NLEX Road Warriors were still able to hold their ground and defeat the surging Alaska Aces, 84-74, in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
The all-around offensive artillery and the Road Warriors’ depth were evident in their game against Alaska as JR Quiñahan, Jericho Cruz, Kevin Alas, and Kenneth Ighalo joined hands to put up points.
All four players scored double-digits for the Road Warriors with the veteran Quiñahan putting up 18 points, Alas with 17, while Cruz and Ighalo contributed 15-apiece.
“Hangga’t maaari, gagawan mo ng remedyo ‘yung pagkawala ni Kiefer. We have no choice but to just work harder, play smarter, make the best use of our opportunities that are given to us,” said head coach Yeng Guiao.
And that’s just what NLEX did as they got favorable performances from their bench with Ighalo playing his first game of the conference since being relegated to the bench due to their stacked wing players.
The Aces managed to go toe-to-toe with the Road Warriors but when the fourth quarter struck, Alas and Cruz began to pick up their shooting and just pulled away.
Maverick Ahanmisi had a huge offensive performance after firing 17 points but was not enough to take down the Guiao-led squad.
“Ang mentality namin is we cannot step into the shoes of Kiefer if we’re just looking for one or two guys to step into those shoes. We have to do it by committee,” added Guiao.