Road Warriors back on trackBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Surviving what coach Boyet Fernandez described as a “character test,” NLEX recovered from its first loss with a thrilling 70-68 victory over Blackwater Sports in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup yesterday at Ynares Sports Arena.
Guard Baser Amer sparked a strong endgame and Nico Salva drilled all but three of NLEX’s last nine points to help put the Road Warriors back on the winning track with an 8-1 record.
“It’s a nice win coming from a very big loss against Café France,” Fernandez said two days after the Road Warriors rebounded from a shock loss to the Bakers, 66-52, that snapped their record 24-game winning streak.
“It was really a character test for this team. I credit the guys who played in the last six minutes. I put out a defensive team out there and they just stepped up.”
Earlier, Jeff Viernes unloaded 18 points as Boracay Rum picked up its second triumph with a 74-66 victory over winless Informatics.
Blackwater, which slipped to 4-2 for a four-way tie at second, had a chance to forge overtime but Ian Mazo missed on a putback attempt at the buzzer.
Ronald Pascual and RR Garcia finished with a combined 23 points to lead the Road Warriors, who rallied from a 53-58 deficit in the last seven minutes.
An Amer three-point play and back-to-back hook shots from Salva put the Road Warriors up, 65-62, before Kirk Long knocked in a key triple to pad the lead, 68-62, going into the final two minutes.
BORACAY RUM 74—Viernes 18, Cabrera 14, Sabellina 12, Eguilos 10, Ilagan 10, Rosopa 5, Arellano 2, Santos 2, Siruma 1, Bandaying 0, Monteclaro 0, Taha 0.
INFORMATICS 66—Cruz 14, Hayes 13, Rogado 11, Ablaza 9, Del Rosario 7, Melegrito 5, Bautista 4, Benitez 3, Cabonce 0, Sanghera 0, Carolos 0, Acuña 0, Rublico 0.
Quarters: 18-14, 31-34, 51-45, 74-66
NLEX 70—Pascual R. 12, Garcia 11, Salva 9, Slaughter 7, Long 7, Pascual J. 6, Hermida 4, Camson 4, Amer 3, Sumalinog 3, Lanete 2, Alas 1, Sangalang 1, Camson 0.
BLACKWATER SPORTS 68—Abdul 13, Ferrer 13, Chua 9, Ciriacruz G. 8, Llagas 7, Fortuna 5, Mazo 4, Celiz 4, Bagatsing 3, Mangahas 2.
Quarters: 12-10, 31-28, 52-52, 70-68