NLEX claims tie for lead; Ginebra scores
Shaking off a bum start by clamping down defensively in the second half, NLEX on Wednesday night zoomed to its fourth straight win after plastering Rain or Shine, 111-91, for a piece of the elimination round lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
After falling behind by double digits in the first half, the Road Warriors shifted to high gear in the final two frames and clearly had more than enough in the tank to leave the Elasto Painters eating their dust.
It was the seventh win in eight games for the Road Warriors, who are now tied with idle sister team TNT.
Barangay Ginebra got 17 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists from Justin Brownlee in a 101-93 win over Blackwater in the nightcap.
The Gin Kings won a fourth straight game in rising to 5-2, while dealing the Elite their seventh loss in nine games.
And it’s a mild surprise even to coach Yeng Guiao at how good his team has been.
“We never dreamed to be No. 1 at this point of the conference,” Guiao said, referring to the top spot, which NLEX actually owns after dealing the only defeat that the KaTropa have.
“Good thing that we woke up in time,” Guiao said of their second half rebound. “In the first half, I had some worries because we were behind by double digits. We felt we came into the game flat and were not focused mentally.”
“We tightened up the defense in the second half. Offensively, we got into our flow and rhythm so we were able to regain the momentum,” Guiao said.
The tight NLEX defense yielded just 42 Rain or Shine points in the final two periods.
Manny Harris completed a triple double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Road Warriors, who are unbeaten ever since tapping Harris as a replacement to Aolu Ashoulu three games ago.
Kiefer Ravena and Poy Erram scored 12 points each.
The Elasto Painters drew 20 points and eight rebounds from the debuting Richard Ross, who replaced Kwame Alexander and became the team’s fourth import this conference.
But not even another change could turn their fortunes around as the Painters slid to 2-7.
Meanwhile, the league slapped a P30,000-fine on San Miguel Beer’s Kelly Nabong for his hard hit on Meralco’s Chris Newsome during their game last Sunday, where the Bolts took a 125-99 win over the Grand Slam-seeking Beermen.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.