NLEX continued its stunning turnaround as it frustrated Rain or Shine, 122-114, in double overtime to remain unbeaten in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Road Warriors pounced on the Elasto Painters errors in the endgame to suddenly pull away from see-saw battle as they registered their third straight win – and fifth overall dating back to last conference.
The current win streak this conference is also the Road Warriors’ best start in franchise history – just a conference after they finished tied for the second to last spot in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Aaron Fuller and Kevin Alas came through with the biggest plays in the clutch for the Road Warriors, who handed the E-Painters their first loss after starting their conference with a win.
“We need to learn how to win games like this,” NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said as he beat his former team for the first time. “To beat Rain or Shine is a testament of the progress we’ve made.”
“(But) it’s an awkward feeling, because sometimes I still feel it’s my team,” he added of the ROS side that he led to two championships.
Fuller put up another workmanlike effort with 33 points, 20 boards, three assists, two steals, and one block in over 48 minutes of play, capping his performance with a breakaway slam off an Alex Mallari steal that proved to be the exclamation point.
Adding insult to injury, Larry Fonacier knocked down another dagger three-pointer from the left corner in their next play off Alas, who sustained his inspired play by finishing with 24 points, 10 boards, five assists, and one steal, while committing just one turnover in almost 38 minutes on the court.
JD Weatherspoon led the E-Painters 20 points and 16 rebounds in 50 minutes, while Beau Belga added 15 markers and nine boards.
James Yap fired half of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to help keep the E-Painters afloat, but was held scoreless in the extra sessions as he fell three points shy of reaching a long-anticipated milestone – 10,000 points for his career.
NLEX 122 – Fuller 33, Alas 24, Quinahan 13, Fonacier 11, Lastimosa 10, Mallari 9, Tiongson 6, J. Villanueva 5, Taulava 4, Soyud 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Ighalo 2, Monfort 0, Rios 0
ROS 114 – Weatherspoon 20, Belga 15, Yap 14, Ahanmisi 13, Chan 12, Norwood 10, Cruz 10, Almazan 10, Tiu 9, King 1, Ponferada 0
QUARTERSCORES: 26-27, 59-55, 84-81, 101-101, 122-114