Pacquiao leads Kia to victory vs TNT
Manila, Philippines – The assassins of Manny Pacquiao struck again last night.
After knocking down two champion teams this conference, Kia added perennial contender Talk ’N Text to its list of victims after hacking out a nail-biting 106-103 win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Sophomore forward Hyram Bagatsing and veteran guard Leo Avenido played key roles in the second half for carnival, coming through with clutch shots to slay another giant.
Bagatsing came off the bench to score 21 points, including 12 in the third period, while Avenido added 16 markers, 13 of which in the final quarter that helped the expansion team Kia score its first back-to-back victories in franchise history.
A three-pointer by JR Buensuceso gave Kia its biggest lead of the game at 91-82, although TNT came charging back and even took a 96-95 advantage on two free throws by import Ivan Johnson with 3:06 to play.
Bagatsing, however, answered with a triple – his sixth in the game – that gave the team the lead, 98-96. Johnson leveled the count at 98-all, but Kia’s 7-foot-4 import Peter John Ramos put Kia back on top with a layup, 100-98, with 2:18 remaining in the game.
After a missed shot by TNT, the 13-year veteran Avenido drained a right corner three-pointer to give the Carnival a 103-98 lead with 1:45 left to play. Following a missed trey by Johnson, Ramos converted a hook shot for a 105-98 advantage for Kia, 1:13 to go.
The last time TNT threatened was when Larry Fonacier buried a three, cutting the lead of Kia to three points, 103-106.
The win which came a week after Kia stunned Grand Slam and defending champion Purefoods Star, 95-84. The other win of the Carnival was against Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer, 88-78, last Feb. 4 also at the Big Dome. Kia now sports a 3-4 card for solo eighth in the standings.
Ramos led the team with 24 points and 25 rebounds as Kia controlled the rebounding department, 59-52. Kyle Pascual, Cervantes and Buenseceso added 10 points apiece for Kia, which converted a season-tying 13 three-pointers.
“Ibig sabihin siguro maganda ginagawa ng mga players, saka sa training,” said Pacquiao, a PBA rookie who is also the team’s designated mentor. “Basta sacrifice lang sa training, pagdating ng game hindi na tayo mahirapan.”
“Tatlong malalakas na teams, kumpiyansa ng bawat isa andun,” added Pacquiao, who played nearly seven minutes all in the second period with two missed attempts both from three-point territory.
KIA 106 – Ramos 24, Bagatsing 21, Avenido 16, Pascual 10, Cervantes 10, Buensuceso 10, Revilla 5, Dehesa 5, Cawaling 3, Alvarez 2, Thiele 0, Poligrates 0, Pacquiao 0.
TALK ’N TEXT 103 – Castro 24, Johnson 21, Fonacier 13, Rosser 12, Aban 12, De Ocampo 11, Reyes R.J. 6, Alas 4, Carey 0.
Quarters: 22-33; 50-51; 78-76; 106-103.