Barako Bull stays in playoff contention after cutting NLEX's winning run

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--With his team's PBA Commissioner's Cup campaign on the line, Barako Bull coach Koy Banal made eyebrows raised when he relied on an off-shooting Chico Lanete in the dying moments of its Tuesday night game against a streaking NLEX club.

Lanete proved Banal made the right move.

Despite starting the game 0-of-4 from beyond the arc, the Energy's point guard never showed signs of giving up and buried back-to-back triples to highlight their game-winning 12-0 run to snap the Road Warriors' winning streak with a 91-85 victory at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Lanete's first triple put Barako up for good, while the other long-range shot sealed the win that also snapped its losing streak.

NLEX led, 85-79, with around four minutes left in the game, but Sol Alabi scored a putback to ignite the game-deciding Barako Bull run.

He further pumped up the Energy as he blocked Mark Cardona's shot, leading to a Carlo Lastimosa layup on the other end.

Lanete then nailed the two three-point shots to give the lead to the Energy, while Paolo Hubalde nailed a jumper for the final score.

Alabi finished with a game-high 29 points for Barako, which kept its playoff hopes that almost got shattered after a string of six losses in its last seven games alive. Lanete added 13.

Al Thornton led NLEX with 24 markers, but he only made 7-of-23 from the field as the stifling defense of Sol Mercado forced him to make wild attempts.

Box Scores:

Barako Bull 91--Alabi 29, Lanete 13, Mercado 12, Intal 10, Pascual 10, Garcia 7, Hubalde 6, Lastimosa 2, Marcelo 2, Matias 0, Salvador 0, Salva 0

NLEX 85--Thornton 24, Cardona 15, Ramos 9, Taulava 9, Canaleta 8, Lingganay 7, J. Villanueva 5, E. Villanueva 4, Borboran 2, Baloria 0, Camson 0, H. Arboleda 0, W. Arboleda 0

Quarterscores: 26-23, 51-49, 72-75, 91-85