THIS time, NLEX rode on the hot hands of Niño Canaleta to cruise to a 94-81victory over a shorthanded Globalport on Sunday at the Cuneta Astrodome and sustain its streak in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
With the Batang Pier zeroing in on Al Thornton after the Road Warriors import exploded for 50 points last time, Canaleta took advantage as he waxed hot in the second half to pump in a season-high 29 points in just 20 minutes off the bench.
That enabled the Road Warriors to notch a franchise-best fourth straight victory to move above .500 with a 5-4 win-loss card.
NLEX also spoiled the debut of new Batang Pier import Derrick Caracter, who registered 27 points and 14 boards that went for naught as Globalport, which missed the services of injured rookie Stanley Pringle, fell to 4-5.
“We won this game because Globalport had one guy injured, but still I give credit to them for making this game difficult for us,” Road Warriors coach Boyet Feranandez said.
The Batang Pier made it tough particularly for Thornton, who was limited to 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting in 43 minutes after erupting for the league season-high in the 96-90 win over Barangay Ginebra last Wednesday.
Canaleta came to the rescue as the high-flying forward fired 22 of his scoring output in the last two quarters to help the Road Warriors establish a sizeable cushion that they never relinquished.
Aldrech Ramos, Asi Taulava, and Rudy Lingganay also provided solid local contribution for NLEX, which led by as many as 16, 84-68, after a Thornton breakaway dunk in the payoff period.
NLEX 94 – Canaleta 29, Thornton 19, Ramos 14, Taulava 8, Lingganay 7, Villanueva E. 4, Borboran 4, Baloria 3, Cardona 2, Villanueva J. 2, Arboleda H. 2
GLOBALPORT 81 – Caracter 27, Romeo 19, Semerad 12, Jensen 8, Nabong 6, Miranda 5, Espinas 3, Ponferrada 1, Buenafe 0, Isip 0, Pinto 0
Quarters: 20-16, 40-36, 65-53, 94-81