April 19, 2024

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NLEX outduels NorthPort, 107-100, to secure first PBA Philippine Cup win 

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HARD-FOUGHT WIN. The NLEX Road Warriors, led by Robert Bolick, overcomes NorthPort to secure their first victory in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, March 1. PBA PHOTO

Robert Bolick showcased his scoring prowess, outdueling Arvin Tolentino as NLEX secured a hard-fought 107-100 victory against NorthPort in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, March 1.

Bolick’s explosive performance included a game-high 31 points, highlighted by three crucial free throws in a decisive 7-0 run that propelled the Road Warriors to a triumphant debut in the season-ending tournament. 

Enoch Valdez added 16 points, while Sean Anthony and Anthony Semerad contributed 15 each, playing pivotal roles in NLEX’s ability to outlast a determined NorthPort squad heavily relying on Tolentino’s impressive 29-point outing, complemented by seven rebounds and seven assists.

Allyn Bulanadi (19 points), debutant Zavi Lucero (13 points and eight rebounds), and William Navarro (12 points and 13 rebounds) also delivered noteworthy performances for the Road Warriors.

Bolick, determined to steer NLEX to a successful conference start following a disappointing ninth-place finish in the recent Commissioner’s Cup, demonstrated his scoring prowess against his former team, exhibiting efficiency with a 9-of-22 field goal rate and 10-of-13 accuracy from the free-throw line. 

Additionally, Bolick contributed five rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one block in his impressive 42-minute display.

Tolentino, last conference’s scoring leader, had a commendable night, connecting on 8-of-19 field goals and an impressive 10-of-11 from the free-throw line. Despite his offensive prowess, Tolentino and his teammates faced a scoring drought in the final two minutes and 44 seconds of the game, allowing NLEX to seize control.

NorthPort struggled to find the basket after Lucero’s tying score at 100-all. Lucero, making a strong impression in his professional debut after a stint with the University of the Philippines, finished with a 5-of-11 field goal rate and showcased his rebounding prowess with three offensive boards and five defensive caroms, signaling a promising start to his pro career.

The rookie is anticipated to become a key fixture in Coach Boni Tan’s rotation, providing depth and talent to bolster NorthPort’s campaign in the PBA Philippine Cup.

The boxscores: 

NLEX 107 – Bolick 31, Valdez 16, Anthony 15, Semerad 15, Pascual 9, Ular 6, Nieto 5, Marcelo 4, Miranda 3, Amer 2, Nermal 0.

NorthPort 100 – Tolentino 29, Bulanadi 19, Lucero 13, Navarro 12, Munzon 8, Zamar 6, Calma 4, Flores 4, Rosales 2, Chan 2, Paraiso 1, Cuntapay 0, Yu 0.

Quarterscores: 29-25, 55-50, 74-72, 98-98, 107-100 (OT).

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