NLEX built a 31-point lead and weathered a Columbian rally to post a 107-97 victory on Sunday - their first in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After failing to hold on to leads in their first three games, the Road Warriors finally went all the way thanks to the 23 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks of Poy Erram.
“We are just taking it one game at a time. We had three disappointing losses before this so this is a welcome relief especially against Columbian which has been playing well in the past few games,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao.
Kenneth Ighalo had 19 points and 11 rebounds while Marion Magat looked every inch a man reborn at NLEX as he finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
After trailing, 65-34, in the second quarter, Columbian made a big run by outscoring NLEX, 36-17, in the third quarter and cut the deficit down to five points, 91-86.
NLEX, however, regained its bearings in time as Erram and Philip Paniamogan hit consecutive baskets to bring the lead back to 11 points, 97-86.
Erram once again hit another jumper with 2:35 left, allowing the Road Warriors to keep a safe distance from the Dyip, 102-91.
JayR Reyes had 17 points and nine rebounds while CJ Perez and Rashawn McCarthy had 16 points each for the Dyip, who are now an even 2-2.
NLEX 107 – Erram 23, Ighalo 19, Magat 14, Alas 13, Paniamogan 11, Galanza 9, Taulava 6, Tallo 5, Porter 4, Tiongson 3, Baguio 0, Fonacier 0, Soyud 0.
Columbian 97 – Reyes 17, Perez 16, McCarthy 16, Celda 14, Escoto 10, Cahilig 7, Calvo 7, Faundo 5, Cabrera 2, Agovida 2, Corpuz 0, Tabi 0, Khobuntin 0, Camson 0.
Quarters: 39-16; 68-42; 85-78; 107-97.