NLEX scores first winning streak of the PBA season
Paul Lintag on May 27, 2017 05:29 PM
Starting the conference with nine straight defeats, NLEX managed to end its Commissioner's Cup campaign with back-to-back victories. (PBA Media Bureau)
Antipolo City, Rizal --- NLEX was eliminated from the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup long ago, however, the Road Warriors still managed to save their best for last.
NLEX dealt Phoenix a crucial beating Saturday at the Ynares Center here, scoring a 116-114 victory to end the mid-season joust with back-to-back victories.
After starting the conference with nine straight defeats, the Road Warriors end the Commissioner's Cup with a 2-9 mark.
With Matthew Wright going crazy on offense to try and bring the Fuel Masters back from a double-digit deficit, NLEX found enough offense to hold on for the win, putting Phoenix's playoff hopes in serious jeopardy.
"We just wanted to make a good last impression going to the third conference," head coach Yeng Guiao said.
"We're trying to gain as much confidence [as we can get]. That's the best we can do. We're also trying to gel the new guys, and it's working," he added.
The new guys certainly did the most damage for the Road Warriors in their final game of the conference. With Phoenix trying to rally behind its prized rookie, JR Quinahan, acquired from Globalport, and Alex Mallari, acquired from Mahindra, landed the telling blows in the fourth to secure the victory.
Quinahan in particular shined in the clutch, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the final period while Mallari emerged as the team's leading scorer, going for 22 points, 11 in the first quarter that set the tone for the rest of the contest. Wayne Chism scored 20 points.
The Road Warriors led all game long thanks to a strong start that allowed them to take a 13-point lead after the first 12 minutes. The lead ballooned by as many as 23, 74-51, in the second half before Wright caught fire.
The Fil-Canadian rookie fired 17 points in the third to keep the Fuel Masters close. He ended up with a new- career-high of 42 points on top of five rebounds and four assists albeit in a losing effort.
Import Jameel McKay struggled for only 16 points and 14 rebounds, fouling out after only 28 minutes of play.
At 4-7, Phoenix is still not out of the playoffs but will need some help from other teams to atlest force a playoff for the no. 8 seed.
NLEX 116 - Mallari 22, Chism 20, Quinahan 14, Lastimosa 10, Alas10, Monfort 9, Al-Hussaini 8, Tiingson 7, Rios 6,Gotladera 4, Taulava 2, Baracael 2, Soyud 2.
PHOENIX 114 - Wright 42, McKay 16, Jazul 13, Baguio 8, Torres 9, W. Wilson 7, Borboran 6, Alolino 5, J. Wilson 5, Intal 2, Dehesa 2, Kramer 0, Miranda 0.
Quarters: 35-22, 59-46, 83-79, 116-114.
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