NLEX pulls off thrilling Binan victory as late mental lapses cost Star Hotshots
NLEX guard Garvo Lanete mobbed by teammates after his scoring burst. Dante Peralta

BIÑAN, Laguna – NLEX compounded the misery of Star with a 106-99 decision in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup road game at the Alonte Sports Arena on Saturday night.

Al Thornton showed his NBA pedigree anew, but it was Garvo Lanete and Jonas Villanueva who hit the biggest baskets down the stretch as the Road Warriors likewise pounced on the miscues of the Hotshots to prevail.

Denzel Bowles singlehandedly carried the Hotshots back from a late nine-point deficit, scoring his team’s last eight points, highlighted by a putback slam, but found little help from his local crew

As a result, NLEX hiked its win-loss record to 2-1, while keeping the Hotshots after three starts.

“We’re glad that we’re done with the Hotshots,” Road Warriors coach Boyet Fernandez said. “With their lineup, I’m sure they’ll bounce back.”

With the game tied at 91, Lanete and Villanueva conspired to score nine unanswered points to give the Road Warriors enough cushion to hold off the Hotshots’ late push.

Lanete regained his shooting touch on the way to pumping in 21 points, while Villanueva added 12 markers. Thornton finished with a game-high 35 points and 10 boards in 38 minutes.

Bowles wound up with 30 markers, the last two on a free throws that nudged the Hotshots to within 100-97, only to let Kevin Alas retaliate with a layup on the other end to seal the deal.


The scores:

NLEX 106 – Thornton 35, Lanete 21, Taulava 14, J. Villanueva 12, Alas 10, Anthony 9, Enciso 3, Reyes 2,Borboran 0, Khobuntin 0, Wilson 0, E.Villanueva 0

STAR 99 – Bowles 30, Maliksi 21, Simon 21, Yap 10, Pingris 9, Barroca 6, Melton 2, Torres 0, Sangalang 0, Reavis 0, Pascual 0

Quarterscores: 22-26, 50-55, 77-82, 106-99

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos