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    Returning Ashaolu makes immediate impact as NLEX trips Rain or Shine

    Jun 28, 2019
    PHOTO: pba images

    OLU Ashaolu led NLEX to victory in his return to the team, beating Rain or Shine, 100-97, on Friday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

    Ashaolu had 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Road Warriors, who won for only the second time in nine tries.

    The Nigerian-Canadian replaced Tony Mitchell as NLEX’s import to begin the team’s preparations for the Governors’ Cup. But Ashaolu, who also played for the team last season, immediately made his presence felt as the Road Warriors broke a four-game losing skid against the Elastopainters.

    Rain or Shine dropped to 3-4.

    NLEX led by as many as 17 points, but survived a late stand by Rain or Shine.

    Ashaolu hit a short stab with 35.9 seconds left, 98-94, but Kris Rosales hit a triple on the following play to cut NLEX’s lead to one point.

    The Road Warriors made a big defensive play on the next possession after Poy Erram blocked a lay-up by Denzel Bowles in the dying seconds of the game, leading to two free throws by Ashaolu to settle the final score.

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    “I had some doubts about Olu’s condition before this game,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao. “He arrived three days ago. Medyo nagdududa ako what shape he is in but he looked good in practice. We just ran a couple of plays for him, our basic plays. It’s a good thing he was able to sustain his energy both on offense and defense.”

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    “The import really is a key factor in changing the complexion of the game. We are getting ourselves ready for the next conference. In the meantime, we will try to get as many wins as we can,” Guiao added.

    Jericho Cruz had 15 points, while Kenneth Ighalo and Erram had 13 points each. Erram also had seven rebounds and two blocks including the crucial swat against Bowles.

    The loss spoiled the effort of Bowles, who had 35 points and nine rebounds for the Elastopainters. Rosales added 18 for Rain or Shine in the defeat.

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    The scores:

    NLEX 100 – Ashaolu 26, Cruz 15, Erram 13, Ighalo 13, Tiongson 8, Soyud 7, Varilla 6, Paniamogan 5, Quinahan 5, Lao 2, Baguio 0, Galanza 0, Paredes 0.

    Rain or Shine 97 – Bowles 35, Rosales 18, Daquioag 13, Mocon 12, Belga 9, Nambatac 7, Norwood 2, Alejandro 1, Ponferada 0, Borboran 0, Torres 0.

    Quarters: 23-23; 51-38; 81-64; 100-97.

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