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Intal, McMorrow shine as Barako Bull holds off NLEX

TAGUM CITY, Philippines – Barako Bull Energy import Liam McMorrow and veteran JC Intal were both superb on Wednesday, May 6, leading their team past the NLEX Road Warriors, 101-96, on the second day of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the MOA Arena.

Intal had his best game of the season, finishing with 24 points and 11 rebounds to go with 4 triples. It was the former Ateneo Blue Eagles star’s first double-double this season and his highest scoring output in 5 years.

McMorrow, the team’s 7-foot-2 recruit who played in the NBA D-League, registered 33 points on 11-of-14 shooting and 22 rebounds.

The Energy originally hoped for Solomon Alabi to return after a successful Commissioner’s Cup campaign, but the former NBA player opted to stay home due to personal reasons. Nonetheless, the team’s new import performed well in his debut.

“We brought in Solomon Alabi because of his rebounding and shot-blocking skills. We got Liam because we want it to be balanced: not only our rebounding but also our offense,” said head coach Koy Banal, whose team was eliminated in last conference’s quarterfinals.

“Both of them have energy and it rubs off on our locals.”

Clearly, it did on Wednesday. Besides Intal, returning Energy forward Dylan Ababou, who was acquired on a trade with Ginebra, scored 16 points off the bench and shot 54% from the field. Barako shot just 39% from the floor, but was dominant on the boards where they out-rebounded the Road Warriors, 62-43.

“Everybody stayed in the game,” said Banal, who shared that he was inspired by John Maxwell: “that positive attitude creates positive results.”

“Everybody stayed positive,” he said.

It was a one-point contest with 2:42 left in the game before a pair of charities by McMorrow put his team up three. After a missed triple by Jonas Villanueva, Intal hit a clutch jumper to put his club ahead 97-92.

NLEX then went a stretch where Asi Taulava, import Kwame Alexander, and KG Canaleta all missed shots. With 1:20 to go, McMorrow hit another basket to put his team up seven.

The pesky Road Warriors didn’t go away easily, as they came off a time-out and hit two straight baskets to make it a one-possession game. But with 13 ticks remaining, McMorrow corralled a crucial offensive board, nailed a put-back, and delivered his team the win.

Alexander had 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for NLEX, who was led by Syrian Michel Madanly, their Asian import, who had 26 points in his debut. Mark Cardona led the locals with 11 markers.

Scores:

BARAKO BULL (101) - McMorrow 33, Intal 24, Ababou 16, Lastimosa 6, Garcia 5, Lanete 5, Maierhofer 5, Yeo 3, Hubalde 3, Wilson 1, Pascual 0, Chua 0.

NLEX (96) - Madanly 26, Alexander 16, Cardona 11, Villanueva J. 10, Canaleta 9, Villanueva E. 6, Lingganay 5, Taulava 5, Borboran 3, Ramos 3, Raymundo 2, Arboleda H. 0.

Quarter Scoring: 29-19, 56-42, 70-70, 101-96

– Rappler.com