By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The NLEX Road Warriors hit clutch baskets in the most crucial stretch of the final canto to complete the come-from-behind victory against the Converge FiberXers, 116-112, in the ongoing PBA Governor’s Cup last February 18, 2023, held at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
NLEX mainstays Kevin Alas and Tony Semerad joined hands to put Converge to sleep with three minutes remaining in the ball game.
Down by five points while Converge looking to ice the game with import Jamaal Franklin’s hot shooting game from downtown, the veteran duo combined for 11 points that shocked the Aldin Ayo-led squad.
Alas kicked off the offensive avalanche after converting on a foul-counted play off an aggressive drive from the right baseline. After the three-point swing, the shifty superstar guard added another deuce after a circus layup that trimmed their deficit to just two points, 109-107, with two minutes remaining in the game.
Semerad then gave the Road Warriors the lead with 1:44 remaining after burying an acrobatic flip shot off his left hand plus a shot from the charity stripe.
With Converge missing two offensive possessions on the other end, NLEX went back to their money man Alas and cashed in the biggest trifecta of the game to balloon their lead to four, 113-109, with 40 seconds left in the game.
Franklin willed Converge back and made it into a single-possession game after connecting on a long trey to pull them within a point, 113-112.
However, the FiberXers missed another opportunity during their last offensive execution which led them to foul NLEX’s import Wayne Selden Jr. who iced the game with two free throw shots.
It was all Converge in the first half as their waxing-hot performance from the rainbow country helped them control the tempo of the game while protecting their double-digit lead.
The stars then aligned for the Road Warriors after Selden Jr. went aggressive with his slashing, single-handedly erasing Converge’s double-digit heading into the second half.
Alas capped off his clutch performance with 31 big points while Semerad contributed 16 points built from 7/11 shooting from the field.
Meanwhile, new import Selden Jr. finished with 35 points, eight steals, seven rebounds, six assists, and three blocks.
The Road Warriors spoiled Franklin’s 53-point output off nine made three-pointers with 11 rebounds and four dimes and is now back at the top three of the Governor’s Cup standings after the win.