NLEX snaps slide with upset of Alaska

MANILA, Philippines – Imports Kwame Alexander and Michael Madanly combined for 56 points as the NLEX Road Warriors pulled off an upset of the Alaska Aces, 113-102, in the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup on Tuesday, June 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

American import Alexander posted 28 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks and went 12-of-13 from the free throw line. Asian import Madanly had 28 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in his first full game since suffering a whiplash in a loss to Barako Bull.

“This is the first time that he finished the game,” head coach Boyet Fernandez said of Madanly. “The last 4 or 5 games, he never finished the game. I know every time he’s inside the court, his teammates are really energized. He came in with that winning attitude.”

Local big Asi Taulava provided ample support with 20 points and 13 rebounds and Mark Cardona contributed 15 points, including 9 in the fourth, as the Road Warriors snapped a two-game slide and improved to 2-4.

NLEX took down Alaska, one of the league leaders, by overturning a double-digit deficit in the third and warding off the ice cold Aces in the last 4 minutes.

“At least we won against Alaska. Probably it will give us a morale boost,” Fernandez said. “I’m happy we stuck with our game plan, we played defense tonight even though we gave up so many points. Our defense in the endgame was a lot to win against Alaska.”

Import Romeo Travis showed the way for the Aces with 31 points on 12-of-18 field goals and 12 rebounds, while Cyrus Baguio registered 23 markers along with 5 assists.

Baguio sizzled in the first with 10 points but went cold in the final two minutes when Alaska needed him most, missing crucial shots that could have kept his team close.

Guards Chris Banchero and JVee Casio each had 14 and 12 points, respectively. Casio, who also bricked a three-pointer towards the end, added 7 assists.

Cardona gave NLEX a 103-96 cushion with 2:01 remaining after he fumbled the ball on the break but converted it anyway. Jonas Villanueva then scored on a fastbreak once more to stretch the lead, 105-96, as Alaska misfired from the field and rimmed out shots.

The Aces, previously at second place, crashed to fourth with a 4-2 record. –