PBA Philippine Cup

No slowing down as streaking NLEX comes out of long break with convincing win

Delfin Dioquino

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No slowing down as streaking NLEX comes out of long break with convincing win

SHOT. Robert Bolick in action for the NLEX Road Warriors in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

NLEX picks up where it left off in the PBA Philippine Cup and claims its fourth straight win after picking apart shorthanded Magnolia behind Robert Bolick and Tony Semerad

MANILA, Philippines – NLEX showed no signs of rust despite coming off a three-week layoff.

The Road Warriors picked up where they left off in the PBA Philippine Cup and claimed their fourth consecutive win after picking Magnolia apart in an 87-74 victory at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Saturday, April 6.

Robert Bolick and Tony Semerad turned in solid performances as NLEX, which last played a game on March 13, improved to 5-1 to remain at second place behind unbeaten San Miguel (4-0).

For Road Warriors head coach Frankie Lim, finding a balance between putting the players under high intensity training and giving them a breather over that extensive break worked wonders for the team.

“We were out for like 18 days. We paced the players well. We had a couple of rest days. We had hard practices. We also had light practices,” said Lim.

Bolick came out firing from the get-go as he scattered 9 of his game-high 26 points in the opening quarter, allowing NLEX build a commanding 26-12 advantage.

And when the Hotshots threatened a comeback by getting within 35-41 early in the third period, Bolick poured 10 points in the quarter as the Road Warriors pushed their lead to 67-47 on the way to the breezy triumph.

The co-MVP in the All-Star Game in Bacolod City, Bolick also added 9 assists and 3 rebounds.

Semerad, meanwhile, delivered a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds with 2 steals as he did damage inside and out, knocking down 5 of his 9 three-point attempts.

Although NLEX won the game with hardly any trouble, Lim is convinced the absence of several key players took its toll on Magnolia.

The Hotshots played without injured forwards Aris Dionisio and Rome dela Rosa, who were out with ankle injuries, and star Calvin Abueva, who served a one-game suspension as punishment for flipping off a fan during a game.

“It is hard to talk because they were undermanned. They were without Rome, a defensive player. They were without Abueva, another defensive player. Dionisio is their three-point shooter. They were a big loss,” said Lim.

“We’re just lucky to make our shots.”

Ian Sangalang paced Magnolia with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Russel Escoto and Mark Barroca chimed in 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Starting guards Paul Lee (5 points on 1-of-11 shooting) and Jio Jalalon (6 points on 1-of-5 shooting) struggled from the field for the Hotshots, who absorbed their second straight loss and slipped to 1-2.

The Scores

NLEX 87 – Bolick 26, Semerad 22, Herndon 9, Miranda 6, Amer 6, Fajardo 6, Nieto 6, Pasucal 3, Nermal 2, Rodger 0, Marcelo 1, Anthony 0, Valdez 0.

Magnolia 74 – Escoto 13, Sanagalang 13, Barroca 10, Laput 8, Jalalon 6, Corpuz 5, Lee 5, Mendoza 5, Ahanmisi 4, Eriobu 3, Reavis 0, Murrell 0

Quarters: 26-12, 37-27, 67-47, 87-74.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.