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NLEX turns back Mahindra, 82-81

  • Written by Elmer N. Manuel
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 238

Games tomorrow 

(Ynares Center, Antipolo) 

4:15 p.m. -- Talk N Text vs. Phoenix

7 p.m. -- Globalport vs. San Miguel 

NLEX pulled off a masterful endgame to repulse Mahindra, 82-81, in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Henry Walker was the man of the hour for the Road Warriors, finishing with a game-high 39 points that gave his squad their second straight victory in the season-ending conference.
   
NLEX improved to a 3-3 win-loss record while dealing Mahindra its second loss in six games.
   
Kevin Alas, on the other hand, led the Road Warriors’ local scorers with 13 points.
   
“I credit this win to our defense,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. “We made three good stops in the last three minutes.”
   
“Kevin (Alas) did a good job of following instructions, especially on following (James) White,” he added.
   
“They’re sticking with each other, and I hope this will help us on back-to-back games against Meralco and Phoenix ,” Fernandez said.
   
“We have to be ready every game, it’s just a matter for us finishing.”
 
NLEX started off strong, putting up a 24-15 advantage anchored on Walker and Alas, but Mahindra was able to come back and tied the game at 24-all midway in the second period.
   
Jonas Villanueva finally ended the Road Warriors’ scoring drought, pulling off five straight points and dishing an assist to Asi Taulava for a three-point play that helped them regain control, 32-24.
   
NLEX led by as much as 11 points, 47-36, off a Walker triple in the third quarter before Mahindra charged back again.
   
The Enforcers scored 10 unanswered points to come within a point, while Mike DiGregorio triple tied the game at 52-all.
   
Nino Canaleta gave Mahindra a 65-60 lead after sinking a triple early in the payoff period and continued the seesaw battle with Walker.
   
Five straight baskets from Canaleta pushed the Enforcers lead to eight, 79-71, but Walker was there to douse the fire.
   
Walker sparked a brilliant 11-0 run that put NLEX back on the driver’s seat, 82-79, with just two minutes left.
   
But in their offensive play, the Enforcers fumbled, with Sean Anthony stealing the ball from Canaleta while Mahindra was trying to set its play.
   
Another chance to grab the lead came for the Enforcers when Walker lost the ball while trying to get past amid heavy traffic during the Road Warriors’ play.
   
But Mahindra was just too unfortunate as Alas stole the ball from White in a big defensive stop that saved the day for NLEX.
   
Canaleta finished with 23 points, while White and Digregorio added 21 and 11 points, respectively.
   
The scores:
   
NLEX (82) -- Walker 39, Alas 13, Villanueva J. 9, Taulava 8, Khobuntin 4, Villanueva E. 4, Baracael 3, Anthony 2, Akl 0, Forrester 0, Monfort 0, Soyud 0.
   
Mahindra (81) -- Canaleta 23, White 21, Digregorio 11, Pinto 7, Elorde 5, Taha 4, Jaime 3, Ramos 3, Aguilar 2, Yee 2, Ballesteros 0, Guinto 0, Agovida 0, Webb 0.
   
Quarterscores: 24-17, 36-30, 60-59, 82-81.