NLEX seized the solo lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup after a 105-99 win over Meralco on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
JR Quinahan scored 19 points and had key baskets in a third-quarter run that enabled the Road Warriors to pull away from the Bolts for good.
Olu Ashaolu added 17 points and 13 rebounds for NLEX, which assumed the unlikely role of league leader following its second win in as many games.
It's something not lost on NLEX coach Yeng Guiao.
“It’s been a long time since we put together two wins in a row,” said Guiao. “Matagal-tagal na. It really feels good. We are having a good start this conference. We hope to sustain it.”
Six players scored in double figures for the Road Warriors with Ken Ighalo and Kiefer Ravena scoring 15 points each. Ravena added eight rebounds and eight assists.
Quinahan hit two three-pointers to fuel a 14-0 run that turned a four-point NLEX lead into a sizeable bubble at 73-55.
The Road Warriors' lead reached a high of 20 points in the same period.
NLEX still had to endure anxious moments after Meralco cut the lead down to four, 100-96, on a short stab by Raymond Almazan.
But the Road Warriors responded with Jericho Cruz scoring on a reverse lay-up off a pass by Ravena to bring the lead back to six points.
Allen Durham had 32 points and 19 rebounds as the Bolts dropped to 1-1.
NLEX 105 – Quinahan 19, Ashaolu 17, Ravena 15, Ighalo 15, Fonacier 11, Cruz 10, Galanza 9, Paniamogan 5, Miranda 2, Baguio 2, Rios 0, Lao 0, Paredes 0, Soyud 0.
Meralco 99 – Durham 32, Almazan 17, Amer 15, Caram 8, Newsome 7, Salva 6, Quinto 5, Hugnatan 5, Faundo 2, Pinto 2, Jackson 0, Tolomia 0, De Ocampo 0.
Quarters: 28-25; 55-46; 83-68; 105-99.