In a game which saw a lot of twists and turns, the Road Warriors had the last laugh as they posted a hard-earned 93-91 escape over the Bolts in the 2015 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Tueday, Nov. 24.
It was again Sean Anthony who delivered for NLEX. The forward calmly sank the game-tying and go-ahead free throws with 8.8 seconds to give the Road Warriors a 92-91 edge.
NLEX trailed 90-91 when Jared Dillinger fouled Anthony just when he received the inbound pass after a timeout. That gave Anthony the chance to convert the deciding freethrows that gave the Road Warriors the thrilling victory.
Asi Taulava was also outstanding. He had a 20-20 game. He scored game-highs of 22 points, on 9-of-14 shooting, and grabbed 21 rebounds to lead NLEX.
The win pushed the Road Warriors to solo fourth place as they improved to a 4-2 card. The setback pushed the Bolts back to bottom of the standings with their 1-6 slate.
”We’re happy to two wins against our sister teams,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez, whose Road Warriors also beat Talk ‘N Text the last time out. ”I thought our defense held up. It made the difference.”
Anthony finished with 19 points. Veteran guard Jonas Villanueva contributed 17 points, including vital baskets in the final two minutes for NLEX.
After the free throws by Anthony, Meralco got the ball back with the chance to take the win. But Gary David stepped out of bounds with 3.6 remaining.
The Bolts were forced to foul Kevin Alas and the sophomore split his freebies to extend NLEX’s lead to 93-91 with 2.6 seconds left on the clock. Meralco had one final desperation attempt which missed.
Meanwhile, a double-header is scheduled Wednesday, Nov. 25. GlobalPort (3-2) battles streaking Barangay Ginebra (3-3) at 7 p.m. The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters (3-2) battle the Blackwater Elite (1-4) at 4:15 p.m.
Both games will also be held at the Big Dome.
NLEX 93 – Taulava 22, Anthony 19, Villanueva J. 17, Alas 16, Khobuntin 6, Enciso 5, Borboran 3, Villanueva E. 3, Lanete 2, Arboleda 0, Reyes 0.
MERALCO 91 – Newsome 21, David 19, Hodge 14, Al-Hussaini 10, Faundo 10, Dillinger 9, Nabong 4, Atkins 2, Hugnatan 2, Alapag 0, Amer 0, Buenafe 0.
Quarter scores: 24-18, 46-37, 65-67, 93-91.