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    Sean Anthony provides spark as NLEX beats Barako for best start in franchise history

    Oct 28, 2015
    NLEX forward Sean Anthony hustles for a loose ball. Jerome Ascano

    NLEX banked on a spirited second-half surge to repulse Barako Bull, 93-85, and put up its best start in its young history on Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

    Seemingly underestimating the Energy, the Road Warriors fell into an early double-digit deficit, before climbing out of it by turning their defense up a notch on the way to their second straight win, the first time they started 2-0 in a conference since taking over the Air21 franchise last year.

    Asi Taulava scored a team-high 14 points and hauled down 11 boards, which moved the Road Warriors star slotman past Philip Cezar (5,834) to No. 5 in the all-time rebounding list with a total of 5,839.

    Mac Cardona added 12 points, while Sean Anthony sustained his all-around play, tallying 11 points, a career-high 19 boards, and two assists for the Road Warriors, who joined Rain or Shine on top of the standings.

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    “We really started flat,” Road Warriors coach Boyet Fernandez said. “We didn’t execute. It seemed we wanted to finish the game right away. But at halftime, I told them we just had to make one stop at a time and put up the same defensive mentality we’ve been showing since the preseason.”

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    The Road Warriors limited the Energy to just 35 percent (29-of-82) shooting from the field.

    Kevin Alas bounced back from a forgettable NLEX debut by tallying 11 points, including three on a three-pointer that opened the game’s scoring, while Enrico Villanueva completed the Road Warriors’ double-digit scorers with 10 markers on top of four boards in 19 minutes.

    Garvo Lanete finally made his pro debut, but wound up scoreless after missing a pair of shots of six minutes.

    Willie Wilson likewise put up a huge double of 16 points and 17 boards along with six assists, and one steal, while JC Intal registered the same scoring output in a losing effort for the Energy, who failed to protect an early 13-point lead.

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    The scores:

    NLEX 93 – Taulava 14, Cardona 12, Alas 11, Anthony 11, Villanueva E. 10, Borboran 8, Camson 8, Villanueva J. 8, Khobuntin 7, Enciso 4, Apinan 0, Arboleda 0, Lanete 0, Reyes 0

    BARAKO 85 – Intal 16, Wilson 16, Pennisi 11, Garcia 10, Cruz 7, Miranda 7, Urbiztondo 7, Baracael 4, Monfort 3, Lanete 2, Sorongon 2, Forrester 0, Fortuna 0

    Quarterscores: 18-25, 38-45, 73-63, 93-85

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    NLEX forward Sean Anthony hustles for a loose ball. Jerome Ascano
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