NLEX picked up from where it left off as it added to the misery of Alaska with a 112-104 decision to jumpstart its PBA Governors’ Cup campaign on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After ending their forgettable Commissioner’s Cup with a two-game win streak, the Road Warriors continued their progress and chemistry-building with their new players as they moved a win from matching their win total in the last two conferences.
Aaron Fuller anchored the attack with 30 points, 20 boards, three blocks, and three steals, while Kevin Alas and Juami Tiongson delivered for the locals as the Road Warriors dealt the Aces their franchise-record ninth straight loss dating back to last conference.
The Road Warriors also sustained their mastery of the Aces, going a perfect 3-for-3 in their meetings out of their five wins overall this season.
“We’re really prepared to compete this conference,” NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said. “We made a lot of major decisions toward the end of the last conference. We practiced the earliest and brought in our import earliest. It’s a validation of our preparation and hard work.”
“But there’s nothing to celebrate at this point, kakaumpisa pa lang,” he added. “The real measure would be after the eleven games are played.”
Still, winning their opening game this conference is something to cheer about as the Road Warriors continued to flash their potential of what a Guiao-led squad looks like.
Alas played inspired basketball, finishing with 20 points, eight boards, and four assists in 29 minutes off the bench, while Tiongson added 13 points, five rebounds, and one assist in just 18 minutes.
Tiongson also knocked down the right-wing three-pointer that broke the last deadlock at 94 and sparked an 18-10 run to finish the game.
Buck Henton led the Aces with 27 points, nine boards, five steals, two blocks, and two assists. Simon Enciso added 21 points on six triples, along with five assists and two boards, while Calvin Abueva chipped in 12 points, 14 boards, and three blocks in a losing effort.
NLEX 112 – Fuller 30, Alas 20, Tiongson 13, Quinahan 9, Rios 8, Taulava 8, Mallari 7, Al-Hussaini 6, Soyud 6, Fonacier 3, Lastimosa 2, Baracael 0, Monfort 0, Ighalo 0, J. Villanueva 0
ALASKA 104 – Henton 27, Enciso 21, Abueva 12, Banchero 11, Thoss 10, Manuel 9, Casio 7, Racal 5, Dela Cruz 2, Magat 0, Exciminiano 0, Mendoza 0, Baclao 0
Quarterscores: 23-24, 56-55, 83-79, 112-104