ANTIPOLO CITY — Asi Taulava wreaked havoc against the first club he played for in the Philippines as he led NLEX to a 104-84 win over Blackwater on Friday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center here.
Taulava scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to give a big lift for the Road Warriors, who snapped their three-game losing skid and improved their win-loss record to 3-4 at the expense of the expansion squad.
It was a huge outing for Taulava at the expense of the Ever Bilena franchise, his first team in the country while playing for the defunct Philippine Basketball League.
In the game between former PBA D-League squads, Taulava also drew big cheers from the crowd as he had a double-double effort wearing Chuck Taylor shoes.
“At least we came back from a three-game losing streak. We really worked hard executing both on defense and offense. It showed today that if we execute our defensive patterns, we are capable of winning this game,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
Taulava scored 15 points as he sparked a third-quarter run by the Road Warriors in keeping their big lead they got in the second quarter. NLEX outscored Blackwater, 32-21, in the second to post a 58-41 halftime lead.
Mark Cardona had 21 points, while Jonas Villanueva and Aldrech Ramos had 17 and 16 points each for the Road Warriors.
Blackwater, drawing 15 points from Ogie Menor, remained winless in eight games.
NLEX (104) – Taulava 24, Cardona 21, Villanueva 17, Ramos 16, Borboran 10, Villanueva 8, Canaleta 3, Hermida 2, Raymundo 2, Apinan 1, Camson 0, W. Arboleda 0, Baloria 0.
Blackwater (84) – Menor 15, Celiz 11, Gamalinda 10, Faundo 9, Artadi 8, Heruela 6, Salvacion 6, Tiongson 4, Erram 4, Laure 4, Rodriguez 3, Timberlake 2, Nuyles 2, Ballesteros 0.
Quarterscores: 26-20; 58-41; 85-62; 104-84.