Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas banked on a hot fourth quarter performance by Kiefer Ravena to withstand the rally of Mono Vampire of Thailand for a 115-102 victory in the 2017 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Champions Cup on Sunday at the Chenzou Sports Complex in Chenzou, China.
Ravena scattered 14 of his 24 points in the last period on top of his seven assists while Carl Bryan Cruz led the Philippine club with 28 points, including eight triples, to help the nationals bounced back from an 82-89 defeat to Palestine last Saturday and improved their win-loss record to 2-1.
From a slim 81-77 cushion, the Filipinos took charge with a 26-15 exchange to erect their biggest lead, 107-92, with still 2:02 left in the game behind the onslaught of Ravena, Cruz and naturalization prospect Isaiah Austin.
American Michael Singletary, who led the Thais with 32 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, trimmed Philippines’ cushion to 102-109 with only 31 ticks to go, but four free throws of Ravena and Austin’s windmill dunk sealed the victory for the PH side.
Austin tallied 27 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks, while Jeron Teng added 17 points and playmaker LA Revilla produced nine points and nine assists also for Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas.
Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas exploded for 27-12 start after Revilla’s lay-up with still 3:11 to go in the first quarter.
But the Thais refused to bow down and made the game interesting in the first half as they narrowed gap to only 51-57 and 77-81 after the third period before Ravena waxed hot in the final canto.
Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas will play Iran’s Petrochimi on Tuesday at 9:45 p.m. next.
JOSEF T. RAMOS