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NLEX beats Meralco despite Emmett's 44 points

MANILA, Philippines - The NLEX Road Warriors defeated sister team the Meralco Bolts, 91-84, on Wednesday, May 13, at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City to notch their first victory of the PBA Governors’ Cup.

The Road Warriors (1-2) came out on top despite the absence of Asian import Michael Madanly, who missed the contest due to an injured back. American import Kwame Alexander was superb in the win, finishing with 29 points on just 20 shots in addition to 17 rebounds and 3 assists.

“I do thank my guys for sticking with our system,” said team head coach Boyet Fernandez after the contest.” 

“We just started to mix up our starting unit because Mike or Michele was injured,” later said the head coach, “so we tried to mix our rotation and we’re just happy everybody stepped up and we got this win.”

Asi Taulava also performed well, putting up 20 points and 10 rebounds despite fouling out late. KG Canaleta came up with 13 points and hit 3 triples, including one that essentially sealed the win for his club in the fourth quarter.

“We really planned to put the ball in the post, especially [since] I knew it’s only Reynel [Hugnatan], John [Ferriols], and only [James] Sena guarding Asi,” said Fernandez, who admitted a talk from the team’s upper management, which reminded the Road Warriors they were the remaining team in the MVP group that had yet to win a game, motivated the squad. 

The Road Warriors finished with 40 points in the paint.

Meralco was led by their American import Andre Emmett, who went off for 44 points but took 40 attempts from the field. Japanese import Seiya Ando registered 18 points and 3 assists in his debut game with the Bolts, who falls to 1-2 this conference. 

Cliff Hodge led Meralco’s locals with 6 points.

The game’s action intensified with 4:20 remaining in the fourth period when NLEX’s lead was trimmed to two, 78-76, after Emmett missed his second free throw but converted an open try from downtown thanks to an offensive rebound by Danny Ildefonso.  

Sensing their grip over the game going away, NLEX turned to Alexander who managed to draw a foul and make both free throws that extended their lead up to four.  

Gary David and Emmett then both missed easy shots near the basket. With 2:42 remaining, Canaleta was left open from the corner for an open triple and hit it to put the Road Warriors back up by 7.

NLEX then converted free throws and attained enough stops on defense to pin down the victory.

“He’s [on] day-to-day basis due to the fact that he has no feel on his back. Medyo strained parin, bugbog, kaya medyo numb pa yung kanyang shoulder and his neck,” Fernandez said about their Asian import, who averaged 17 points and 3 rebounds through his first two games. 

The Road Warriors have the KIA Carnival up next on their schedule, while the Bolts will go up against Purefoods on Sunday, May 17.

Scores: 

NLEX (91): Alexander 29, Taulava 20, Canaleta 13, Cardona 9, Ramos 6, Arboleda H. 5, Villanueva J. 4, Villanueva E. 3, Borboran 2, Raymundo 0, Lingganay 0. 

MERALCO (84): Emmett 44, Ando 18, Hodge 6, Sena 4, Ferriols 4, Wilson 2, Anthony 2, David 2, Ildefonso 0, Cortez 0, Guevarra 0.

Quarter Scoring: 17-16, 40-36, 63-59, 91-84

- Rappler.com