The NLEX Road Warriors and Phoenix Fuel Masters beat their respective rivals to grab their third victories in the resumption of the PBA Commissioners’ Cup on Wednesday night, October 19, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The Road warriors gave new coach Frankie Lim a grand welcome with their 110-101 triumph win over the TNT Tropang Giga. He was team manager of the team for several years before.
NLEX Earl Clark shines
NLEX started a fourth-period surge behind Earl Clark who sizzled with a total of 45 points on top of 16 rebounds while Don Trollano, Kevin Alas, and Matt Nieto provided him formidable support to improve to a 3-2 win-loss record.
Their earlier wins were under interim coach Adonis Tierra.
Alas canned 24 markers, including four treys, while Trollano added 16 and Nieto finished with 12 points, four boards, and three assists.
Clark, happy with his and his team’s performance, said, “We’re still learning a new system, but I feel we can play anybody in the league.”
He stayed positive during the game despite facing TNT’s stiff defense.
“Facing double or triple-team defense, I stayed aggressive, and at the same time I cut down on turnovers. It’s coach’s first win, and it feels good,” he said. He averaged 28.75 points in NLEX’s previous games.
Both teams figured in a tight battle in the first three quarters until the Road Warriors seized control, 95-83, in the final six minutes and 40 seconds of the game.
Lim said that winning against TNT meant a lot following their two losses.
“Iniisip ko nga when will we get our first win? Our next games are all against big teams. Akala ko nga magdederetso-deretso ang talo namin. But we found a way to win (I was thinking when will we get our first win. Our next games are all against big teams. I thought we would lose straight away. But we found a way to win),” Lim said.
The short-handed TNT missed the services of Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, Philip Paniamogan, Kenneth Ighalo, and Anthony Semerad.
Cameron Oliver led TNT with 26 points and 22 rebounds as RR Pogoy chipped in 19 points.
Phoenix Kaleb Wesson shines
Meanwhile, the Phoenix Fuel Masters subdued the Meralco Bolts, 89-82, to claim their third win in six outings.
Kaleb Wesson posted steered Phoenix’s victory with a new career-high 23 points on top of his 13 rebounds. Tyler Tio and Encho Serrano gave him the needed backup.
“It’s great, going .500. That’s a huge strength for us going to the next game,” Wesson, who contained Meralco import Johnny O’Bryant, said. “With a great player like that, his scoring ability, you know he’s gonna score the ball. So I feel that as a team we did great defending him, showing him different looks, and making sure that every shot he took is well-contested. Just a testament to our team and how much we focused on defense today.”
Phoenix coach Topex Robinson, for his part, said their string of victories is the by-product of what they have been doing as a team.
Bong Quinto made 22 baskets for the Bolts who stayed second to the bottom of the team standings with a 1-4 mark. Aaron Black and Allein Maliksi added 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Meralco was without Chris Newsome and Chris Banchero due to injury.
The Box Score:
NLEX 110 — Clark 45, Alas 24, Trollano 16, Nieto 12, Miranda 9, Rosales 3, Chua 1, Varilla 0, Fonacier 0, Celda 0, Magat 0.
TNT 101 — Oliver 26, Pogoy 19, Williams M. 16, Oftana 11, Erram 10, Castro 8, Montalbo 6, Williams K. 5, Tungcab 0, Alejandro 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0
Quarters: 26-15, 49-45, 74-77, 110-101.
PHOENIX 89 — Wesson 23, Tio 14, Serrano 14, Jazul 12, Mocon 10, Anthony 6, Robles 2, Lojera 2, Lalata 2, Garcia 2, Adamos 2, Camacho 0, Muyang 0, Rios 0, Pascual 0.
MERALCO 82 — Quinto 22, Black 14, Maliksi 13, Hodge 7, O’Bryant 7, Almazan 6, Caram 6, Pasaol 5, Jose 2, Pascual 0, Hugnatan 0.
Quarters: 24-22, 47-38, 76-63, 89-82.