MACAU – NLEX erased a 17-point first-half deficit and shocked the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, 88-78, Thursday at Macao East Asian Games Dome here to advance to the Asia League Super 8 2018 semifinals.
JR Quinahan unloaded 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as he shot 4-of-5 from threes to help the Road Warriors repulse the favored Chinese side. He also got five rebounds and four assists.
Kenneth Ighalo also stepped up big for NLEX with 17 points and four boards, while Mac Tallo exploded for 12 in the second half as he commandeered the second-half fightback, while also dishing out eight assists and six rebounds.
The Road Warriors seemingly lost grip on the game in the second quarter as the Flying Tigers turned a 20-all deadlock to a commanding 45-28 advantage.
But the halftime break helped NLEX shake off the cobwebs as it went on a 31-point explosion in the third quarter while limiting Xinjiang to just 10 to take the 64-59 lead, before Quinahan and Tallo put on the finishing touches in the upset.
The bench was big for the Road Warriors as they got 53 points from their substitues, against just 22 for the Flying Tigers.
Sun Tonglin paced Xinjiang (1-2) with 16 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in the defeat.
NLEX 88 – Quinahan 18, Ighalo 17, Tallo 12, Rios 8, Taulava 8, Miranda 6, Monfort 5, Soyud 5, Marcelo 4, Buenafe 3, Tiongson 2, Baguio 0.
XINJIANG 78 – Sun 16, Liu 13, Tang 11, Wang 11, Jiang 10, Deng 8, Hou 4, Pai 3, Han 2.
Quarters: 20-20, 33-49, 64-59, 88-78.