MACAU – NLEX’S gutsy fightback was not meant to be as it bowed out of the Asia League Super 8 2018 with a 75-63 defeat to Guangzhou Long Lions in their semifinal clash Saturday at Macao East Asian Games Dome here.
Shirelijian Muxtar proved to be a thorn on the side of the Filipinos as he dropped seven of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to halt the Road Warriors’ rampage and propel his side to a championship faceoff against the Seoul Samsung Thunders.
Guangzhou started off hot and built an early 18-point lead, 39-21, as the Chinese side shot 50-percent from the field in the first half.
Mac Tallo, though, ignited NLEX’s spirited third-quarter rally with his layup at the four-minute, 48-second mark, cutting the lead down to just two, 48-46.
Unfortunately, the uprising was not meant to be as Shirelijian stabilized the Long Lions in the final canto, where they outscored the Road Warriors, 21-13, to secure the win.
Tallo led NLEX with 16 points, five rebounds, and three assists off the bench.
Cyrus Baguio got eight points, Juami Tiongson had seven, while Kenneth Ighalo collected six points and 11 rebounds.
The Road Warriors will take on ETLand Elephants in the bronze-medal game on Sunday.
Shirelijian paced Guangzhou with 21 points on a 4-of-9 shooting from threes, while towering Zheng Zhun got 15 points.
GUANGZHOU 75 – Sherilijian 21, Zheng 15, Ju 14, Guo 10, Minyang 9, Tian 3, Wang 2, Song 1, Gu 0, Heng 0, Yao 0.
NLEX 63 – Tallo 16, Baguio 8, Tiongson 7, Ighalo 6, Quinahan 6, Taulava 6, Buenafe 4, Miranda 4, Marcelo 2, Rios 2, Soyud 2, Uyloan 0.
Quarters: 26-13, 46-34, 54-50, 75-63.