By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
FINALLY barged into the win column of the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup in their last game, the NLEX Road Warriors look to sustain the momentum of that victory and win back-to-back games when they take on the GlobalPort Batang Pier in the 7 p.m. main game today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Defeated the Phoenix Fuel Masters in overtime, 120-115, in an out-of-town game in Laguna on May 11 to notch their first win in four tries, NLEX now focuses on building on it when it treks back to action and get its campaign soaring.
Playing in the 4:30 p.m. opener, meanwhile, are the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok and Columbian Dyip.
Import Arnett Moultrie led the way for the Road Warriors in their debut victory in the midseason PBA tournament.
Mr. Moultrie finished with 37 points to go along with 17 rebounds.
JR Quiñahan added 16 points with Alex Mallari and Larry Fonacier finishing with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
NLEX had control for much of the contest only to encounter a furious charge back in the payoff quarter from Phoenix, which leveled the count as regulation expired.
In extra time though, the Road Warriors would regain their footing, with Messrs. Mallari and Fonacier taking charge.
The Road Warriors raced to a 118-110 lead in the first four minutes of overtime and never looked thereafter.
Following their hard-earned victory, NLEX coach Yeng Guiao heaved a sigh of relief and expressed hope that it is the start of a turnaround for them in the Commissioner’s Cup.
“We finally learned how to win. After three losses we have to start somewhere,” the NLEX coach said.
RETURN TO WINNING
Out to counter NLEX and its forward thrust is GlobalPort, which is angling to get back to winning after being rebuffed in its previous game by Magnolia, 92-87.
The defeat effectively ended for the Batang Pier a two-win ascent and dropped them to 2-2.
Forward Sean Anthony had a huge game of 20 points and 11 rebounds but it turned out to be not enough to tow GlobalPort over Magnolia.
Import Malcolm White had 17 points and 14 boards with Stanley Pringle and Mo Tautuaa adding 14 and 12 points each.
In the second game, Magnolia (1-1) shoots for its second win in three matches while Columbian (3-2) tries to stretch its winning record before taking a break for the PBA All-Star festivities.
Meanwhile, named PBA player of the week for the period of May 7 to 13 was Alaska muscleman Vic Manuel, who has helped the Aces to a 3-1 record early in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Mr. Manuel had a career-high 29 points and pulled down 12 boards in their 110-100 win over the TNT KaTropa on May 13 to hand Alaska its third win in four games and push himself in front for the weekly individual PBA award.
In winning the award, Mr. Manuel beat out Meralco’s Baser Amer and Chris Newsome, Columbian’s RaShawn McCarthy, Rain or Shine’s Raymond Almazan, Barangay Ginebra’s Kevin Ferrer and NLEX’s Quiñahan.