DESPITE the absence of Asi Taulava and top recruits Kevin Alas and rookie Garvo Lanete, the NLEX Road Warriors easily disposed of Barako Bull, 110-97, in a tune-up game at the Green Meadows Gym on Saturday morning.
The Road Warriors banked on a well-balanced scoring led by veterans Sean Anthony, Mark Borboran with huge support from Eric Camson, Simon Enciso and John Sy Rios to open a 20-point lead with five minutes left.
Former Ginebra players Emman Monfort, James Forrester, Rico Maierhoffer, Josh Urbiztondo and Willy Wilson as well as young guard RR Garcia mounted a rally that pulled Barako within 12 points, 97-85.
The Road Warriors weathered the storm, but coach Boyet Fernandez still rued the teams tendency to relax after establishing a huge lead.
"Guys, we need to correct that, otherwise, sayang ang pagod natin sa laro. We can't give our opponents the chance to regain composure," Fernandez told his players in a final huddle.
The victory came after NLEX underwent a team-building session in Antipolo City. The team leaves for Cagayan De Oro on Sunday night for another round of fellowship.
Barako Bull coach Koy Banal, meanwhile, urged his players to learn from their mistakes. Banal also urged his second team to sustain the same tenacity as the starting unit.
The loss was Barako's first loss in the preseason after wins over Qatar and Meralco and a draw with Mahindra. The Energy also had a fight-marred game against the Jordan national team that was left unfinished.