Toto Villarias shoots down late Yulon Luxgen Dinos rally as NLEX-SCTEX nabs first win in Merlion Cup
Pamboy Raymundo helped NLEX-SCTEX hold off a late rally by the Taiwanese squad.

NLEX-SCTEX nearly blew a 13-point advantage but held on for an 81-76 win over Yulon Luxgen Dinos in the Merlion Cup at the OCBC Arena in Singapore on Saturday.

Jason Perkins raked in 28 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, and two steals for the Road Warriors, who imporved their chances of sealing at least the fifth place in the seven team tournament.

NLEX-SCTEX takes on Satria Muda Petramina in the battle for fifth place at 1 p.m. on Sunday. 

Leaning on Perkins, the Road Warriors raced off to a fiery 19-8 start and a 40-27 halftime lead before the Taiwan team made things interesting down the stretch.

The Dinos clawed back to take a 76-74 lead with less than two minutes remaining. 

That's when Toto Villarias took charge and drained a dagger of a three-pointer as the Road Warriors reclaimed the lead for good, 77-76.

"We just remained composed and patient in sharing the ball," said Perkins.

Villarias shot 4-of-12 from the three-point area for 21 markers, none bigger than the one with 40 seconds left that proved to be the game-changer. 

Import Maurice Show added 10 points and eight boards.

Kuan-Liang Lu paced Yulon with 21 points, while Bryan Davis had 17 points ad 15 rebounds.

The Scores: 

NLEX-SCTEX (81) - Perkins 28, Villarias 21, Shaw 10, Cahilig 9, Raymundo 7, Sumalinog 3, Vitug 2, Apinan 1, Arboleda 0, Belencion 0, Batino 0, Pangilinan 0. 

Yulon (76) - K. Lu 21, Davis 17, Chou 8, Kuo 7, C.M. Lu 6, Lee 5, Hu 3, Ko 2, C.J. Lu 2, Tsui 2.

Quarterscores: 19-8, 40-27, 53-51, 81-76

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