NLEX survives Phoenix, Wright's 42 to end Comms Cup with back-to-back wins
MANILA, Philippines – The NLEX Road Warriors ended the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup on a much-needed positive note, dealing the Phoenix Fuel Masters a crippling defeat, 116-114, on Saturday, May 27 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The Road Warriors lost 9 straight games this conference and 13 straight dating back to January in the Philippine Cup before they gained some rhythm and won back-to-back outings to close out this conference strong.
NLEX played major spoiler to Phoenix's playoff hopes as the Fuel Masters, who finished at 4-7, will now rely on the fate of other teams such as Alaska in order to make the quarterfinals.
Alex Mallari poured a team-high 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go with 9 rebounds and 5 assists as NLEX used an early high-energy surge to control the tempo and pressure Phoenix into turnovers and tentative offensive play.
Wayne Chism added 20 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, two steals, and two blocks while JR Quiñahan had 14 markers off the bench. Kevin Alas and Carlo Lastimosa each tallied 10 points as NLEX succeeded with its mission of getting 5 guys in double figures for the night.
The Road Warriors led by as many as 23 points before squandering the lead and the Fuel Masters closed in at 81-79 late in the third quarter.
Phoenix fought to steal the victory in the endgame but crucial missed free throws doomed its chances.
Gilas Pilipinas member Matthew Wright exploded for a career-high 42 points on 15-of-25 shooting, including 5 3-pointers, in a losing cause.
Jameel McKay posted 16 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out midway in the fourth, as RJ Jazul chipped in 13 markers and 9 boards against 5 miscues for Phoenix.
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.
Quarter scores: 35-22, 59-46, 83-79, 116-114.