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PBA: Kia edges NLEX

Hyram Bagatsing

Manila, Philippines – Hyram Bagatsing buried a three-pointer with one second left to lift Kia to a pulsating 85-82 win over NLEX in the PBA Governors’ Cup last night at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.

A back-up guard, Bagatsing made the Road Warriors pay for their laxity as he nailed what could be his biggest shot in a young career after being left open at right quarter court – thanks to a timely assist by LA Revilla.

The way he pulled the trigger was also commendable as the 6-foot-1 Bagatsing did it without hesitation – a resolve unusual for a sophomore like him.

So when he made his shot, he was immediately mobbed by his teammates while those in the bench, including the coaching staff, exploded in sheer delight as they came into the game with little chance to beat the Road Warriors.

NLEX Coach Boyet Fernandez then called a time out to plot their last offensive play, but given their situation – with only a second left to make the miracle shot – they failed as Mark Cardona missed his own attempt from the 3-point territory.

It was a big win for Kia, which played without player-coach Manny Pacquiao, the boxing legend whose return to the PBA last week was spoiled by 105-98 defeat to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.

The victory improved Kia’s record to 2-1, moving up to solo fourth place while NLEX dropped to 1-3, tying Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and fellow expansion team Blackwater.

Kia Assistant Coach Chito Victolero was hardly surprised by Bagatsing’s last-gasp basket, saying it was a testament to their improved character.

“Right now the players’ confidence is very high. Our chemistry is improving every game,” said Victolero, who called the shot for the Carnival in place of Pacquiao.

“The last play is for LA, but I told him if somebody is open don’t hesitate to kick the ball out. That’s exactly what happened. Hyram has a good look and he knocks it in,” added Victolero.

Kia looked poised for a runaway win when it raced to a nine-point lead, 82-73, on a jumper by Revilla with four minutes left.

But the Road Warriors unloaded a 9-0 run capped by a layup from import Kwame Alexander to tie the score at 82-all, 16 seconds to go.

First Game
KIA 85 – Revilla 15, Chang 15, Deutchman 10, Nuyles 10, Bagatsing 8, N’Diaye 6, Thiele 6, Yee 5, Pascual 4, Pareno 4, Alvarez 2, Ighalo 0, Dehesa 0, Webb 0, Avenido 0.

NLEX 82 – Alexandr 22, Taulava 17, Borboran 10, Cardona 8, E. Villanueva 6, Canaleta 5, J. Villanueva 4, Madanly 3, Lingganay Raymundo 0, H. Arboleda 0.

Quarters: 15-28; 36-50; 63-61; 85-82.

Second Game
TALK N’ TEXT 104 – Pettigrew 27, Rosser 17, De Ocampo 13, Fonacier 12, Daghles 9, Williams 7, Washington 6, Carey 5, Miller 3, Seigle 3, Labagala 2.

ALASKA 103 – Travis 26, Casio 21, Baguio 13, Banchero 11, Dela Rosa 9, Manuel 6, Examiniano 6, Abueva 5, Hontiveros 2, Menk 2, Jazul 2, Thoss 0, Dela Cruz 0.

Quarters: 24-31; 53-49; 77-78; 104-103.