NLEX bounces back, deals Meralco 1st loss
NLEX got back on its winning ways as it scraped past Meralco, 100-94, to deal the latter its first loss in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Engaged in a nip-and-tuck battle late, the Road Warriors took advantage of the Bolts’ back-to-back turnovers and turned it to a 93-86 lead with 2:10 remaining.
Baser Amer and Allen Durham tried to mount a late fightback for Meralco, with the sophomore guard drilling a late trey with 10.4 seconds left to slice the lead down to three, 97-94, but Aaron Fuller iced the game at the free throw line to rack NLEX’s fifth win in six outings.
“It’s still kind of surreal seeing ourselves on top of the standings. Beating a good team like Meralco is a good test. I think we passed a difficult test today,” said coach Yeng Guiao.
Fuller fired 25 points, 18 rebounds, and two blocks to lead the Road Warriors, while Kevin Alas had 21 markers, four boards, four dimes, and two steals.
Larry Fonacier also chimed in 16 markers, seven rebounds, and two assists, while JR Quiñahan had 10 markers and six boards.
It was a huge win for NLEX, especially with how it handled Meralco’s high scoring import Allen Durham.
“I think we handled their import pretty well. He’s just too good all around. But I think the maturity of this team is just developing. We are getting signs of that maturity,” said Guiao.
Durham finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds, but committed six of his team’s 19 turnovers.
Reynel Hugnatan also got 25 markers and nine boards, while Baser Amer shot 4-of-8 from threes and had 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists in the loss, as the Bolts incurred the first blemish in their record at 4-1.
NLEX 100 – Fuller 25, Alas 21, Fonacier 16, Quinahan 10, Mallari 8, Soyud 5, Lastimosa 5, Tiongson 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Ighalo 2, Taulava 2, Rios 1, J. Villanueva 0.
MERALCO 94 – Durham 26, Hugnatan 25, Amer 14, Sedurifa 9, Dillinger 8, Nabong 7, Newsome 5, Lanete 0, Caram 0, Chua 0, Tolomia 0.
Quarters: 16-24, 41-44, 63-64, 100-94.
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