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PBA: Kia routs Alaska

PJ Ramos vs Thoss

7-4 Ramos, Revilla: Deadly combination

A point guard named LA, this one from De La Salle, is making heads turn in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup and stealing some of the thunder from the other LA from Ateneo.

And this LA – Luis Alfonso Revilla – is masterminding the biggest transformation of a PBA ballclub this season by keying the Kia Carnivals’ fourth win in nine games last night, a 103-89 rout of Philippine Cup finalist Alaska at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Kia was without player-coach Manny Pacquiao, who is already in Los Angeles to train for his much-awaited fight against undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2, but continued to keep heads spinning as it added the Aces to its list of big-name victims: Grand Slam champion Purefoods, PH Cup winner San Miguel Beer and multi-titled Talk ‘N Text.

Revilla, five years younger at 25 than Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s LA Tenorio, orchestrated a free-flowing symphony around the monstrous PJ Ramos, who scored 36 points and grabbed an awesome 33 rebounds while hitting 10 of 12 free throws.

The former Green Archer, who had 10 points and 5 assists, kept Kia’s gentle giant deliciously happy while leaving enough to move around for his local teammates.

In one seemingly unbroken sequence made up of two consecutive plays, Revilla whipped a no-look, one-handed bullet of a pass from top of the key to Kia forward Reil Cervantes under the basket to give Kia a 92-81 lead. Then, after a steal, the 2013 third round draft pick streaked up the court with the ball, waited for the right moment to hand off again to Cervantes and kept the pursuing Calvin Abueva at bay behind him.

Revilla and the Carnival owed a debt of gratitude, of course, to the Big Fella’, who automatically invited the double-team from Alaska and which set up Kia’s spot-up shooters (10 of 24 treys).

At 7-foot-4, Ramos presented an insurmountable wall which Alaska tried to scale but never quite managed to overcome as unheralded Karl Dehesa added 14 points, 2 from 3-point range, and JR Cawiling 13 points with 3 triples, both of them coming from the bench.

Alaska, undergoing the same slow start as its PH Cup rival San Miguel Beer, fell to 2-5, just a shade above expansion team Blackwater and, unbelievably, Grand Slam II-seeking SMB.

“We were flat the last game, maybe because we were coming off back-to-back wins so medyo relaxed. This time, I challenge the team to play harder,” said Kia assistant coach Chito Victolero.

Having moved past simple objectives like improving on their one-victory maiden conference, the Carnival are now entertaining loftier ambitions.

“Our goal is to get to the playoffs,” said Victolero. :”I think we’re more motivated right now. Maganda ang communication namin sa loob. We’re still in the process of building chemistry though but we’re getting there.”

The former Mapua Cardinal, who took over from Glenn Capacio after the first conference, has called off team practice for two days to give his players time to rest during the PBA All-Star Weekend in Palawan.

“They we start preparing for NLEX,” Victolero said.

Kia had a 10-point lead going to the fourth quarter, saw it trimmed down to 80-76 and 81-77, but fought back to regain a comfortable advantage behind the towering Ramos and the slick-passing Revilla.

KIA 103 –Ramos 36, Dehesa 14, Cawaling 13, Revilla 10, Cervantes 6, Avenido 6, Buensuceso 5, Thiele 4, Alvarez 3, Poligrates 2, Pascual 2, Yee 2, Webb 0.

ALASKA 89 – James 25, Thoss 16, Baguio 14, Abueva 11, Banchero 7, Manuel 6, Jazul 4, Dela Cruz 4, Eman 2, Dela Rosa 0, Exciminiano 0, Espinas 0, Casio 0, Menk 0.

Quarters: 28-27, 53-49, 77-67, 103-89

Second Game:
SAN MIGUEL 102 – Reid 34, Santos 22, Cabagnot 17, Kramer 14, Lassiter 5, Lutz 3, Tubid 3, Ross 2, Fajardo 2, Reyes 0, Fortuna 0, Semerad 0.

BARAKO 91 – Intal 25, Alabi 25, Marcelo 11, Pascual 10, Garcia 6, Mercado 4, Hubalde 4, Lanete 4, Paredes 2, Lastimosa 0.

Quartercores: 26-23, 57-46, 74-70, 102-91