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Ageless Asi shines as Road Warriors stop "C.P.R.", Batang Pier

By Dugout Philippines

Asi Taulava once again proved that age does not matter in basketball as the 41-year-old NLEX Road Warrior led his team to an impressive PBA debut with a 101-96 win against the gritty GlobalPort squad in Day 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Taulava led the Road Warriors, who took over the reins of the Air21 Express, with 21 points, on an impressive 13-of-17 shooting from the free throw line, eight rebounds, and five assists.

NLEX, however, needed a fight back to trounce GlobalPort.

The Road Warriors started the game on a 14-2 run.

But Terrence Romeo scorched later in the first quarter as he sparked a Batang Pier rally that gave them the lead, 29-25, at the end of the period.

GlobalPort would maintain the lead in the second quarter and even upped the lead to as high as 13, 41-28.

But NLEX caught up in the third as the team eventually tied the game, 66-all, before a 10-4 GlobalPort run put the latter back in the lead at the end, 76-70.

The Batang Pier controlled the game in the first seven minutes of the fourth as they pushed the lead to nine, 89-80.

But Taulava sparked a game-turning 19-5 run that put the Road Warriors ahead, 99-94, with 47.8 seconds remaining.

Romeo then drove to the lane and made the layup plus the Taulava foul.

Romeo, however, missed the bonus free throw, and Nonoy Baclao missed the follow-up as Mark Cardona grabbed the loose ball.

Opting not to foul, GlobalPort got one more chance as Cardona lost the ball on the other end.

But Alex Cabagnot lost control of his momentum after the defense caught up with him, forcing him to travel.

Aldrech Ramos split his charities on the end to push the lead to four, 100-96, with 7.9 seconds left.

Cabagnot badly missed a three-pointer in the next play that put to naught an impressive game between him, Romeo, and rookie Stanley Pringle for the Batang Pier.

Romeo had 33 points, while Cabagnot and Pringle added 23 and 14 respectively for GlobalPort.

Box Scores:

NLEX 101-Taulava 21, Cardona 20, Ramos 16, Villanueva 11, Borboran 9, Canaleta 8, Villanueva 8, Raymundo 5, Camson 2, Villarias 1, Poligrates 0, Apinan 0, Baloria 0

GlobalPort 96-Romeo 33, Cabagnot 23, Pringle 14, Buenafe 6, Nabong 6, De Ocampo 6, Baclao 4, Isip 2, Jensen 2, Taha 0, Duncil 0, Ponferada 0, Cabrera 0

Quarterscores: 25-29, 47-53, 70-76, 101-96