THE youngest did the bullying to the elder sibling once again.
NLEX proved steadier down the stretch as it nipped Meralco, 93-91, to sweep its head-to-head matchups against its sister teams in the elimination round of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup on Tuesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off an upset win over Talk ‘N Text, the Road Warriors leaned on the clutch free throws by Sean Anthony and Kevin Alas that rescued the team after Gary David nearly turned defeat into victory for Bolts with a late three-pointer.
“I hope we have finally erased our little-brother name,” Road Warriors coach Boyet Fernandez said.
NLEX thus notched a second straight win and fourth overall against two losses, while preventing the Bolts from gaining momentum after grabbing their first win as they absorbed a sixth setback in seven games.
Asi Taulava defied Father Time anew, pumping in a monster double-double of 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 21 boards in 34 minutes as the league’s oldest player overpowered a Bolts frontcourt that’s lacking in star power.
But it was Anthony who spelled the biggest difference. Just a day after being named the Press Corps Player of the Week, the energetic hard-working forward buried two charities, the last that put the Road Warriors up for good.
That laid to waste David’s left-corner triple off a broken play in the previous possession that would’ve allowed the Bolts to steal the game.
The Bolts gunner finished with 19 points, three boards, and two assists as he supported rookie Chris Newsome, who shone with 21 points, four assists, and four rebounds in 36 minutes.
NLEX 93 – Taulava 22, Anthony 19, Villanueva J. 17, Alas 16, Khobuntin 6, Enciso 5, Borboran 3, Villanueva E. 3, Lanete 2, Arboleda 0, Reyes 0
MERALCO 91 – Newsome 21, David 19, Hodge 14, Al-Hussaini 10, Faundo 10, Dillinger 9, Nabong 4, Atkins 2, Hugnatan 2, Alapag 0, Amer 0, Buenafe 0
Quarterscores: 24-18, 46-37, 65-67, 93-91