Lanete waxes hot as NLEX blitzes past Star

By Ivan Saldajeno

BIÑAN--Garvo Lanete played his best game in his young PBA career as he helped NLEX go full throttle in the fourth quarter to blast Star, 106-99, in their Commissioner's Cup meeting at the Alonte Sports Arena on Saturday night.

Lanete, the Road Warriors' first round pick, finished with 21 points off the bench including nine in the pivotal final frame, where they pulled away for good from the Hotshots to make up for a slow start.

Star opened the game red-hot, going for a 21-8 lead in the first quarter behind the hot hands of PJ Simon, Denzel Bowles, and Allein Maliksi.

NLEX then began to find its rhythm and remained within fighting distance from Star for the rest of the first period until the team took its first taste of the lead in the third quarter.

The Hotshots threatened to pull away anew late in the third, opening an 82-75 cushion, but the Road Warriors went on a 10-0 spilling to the fourth quarter to lead, 85-82.

Star stayed in the game, forcing a number of deadlocks in the middle part of the fourth quarter, the last at 91-all after a free throw from Maliksi.

But Lanete and Jonas Villanueva joined forces for a game-turning 9-0 run to take the lead for good, 100-91, with 2:38 remaining.

Bowles tried to keep the Hotshots in the game as he nailed six straight points to cut the lead to three, 100-97, with 1:08 left.

But Kevin Alas drove to the lane for a clutch layup with 49.4 seconds remaining to up the Road Warriors' lead to five, 102-97.

Bowles made two more points from the free throw line to bring Star to within three anew, 99-102, but he committed a huge blunder as after an Al Thornton miss, he failed to pass the ball properly off the rebound, giving the ball back to NLEX.

Villanueva also made a crucial mishap as he missed both his free throws off a Mark Barroca foul, but Thornton made up for his missed shot by grabbing the offensive rebound and making the putback with four seconds to go in the game.

Thornton would miss the bonus free throw off another Barroca foul, but Alas defied the odds for the offensive rebound and the dagger follow-up.

Lanete also had two rebounds, one steal, and one block even as Thornton had 35 points of his own along with ten rebounds and three rebounds for the Road Warriors, who played near-flawless basketball by having only five turnovers the entire game.

Bowles tallied 30 points, 17 rebounds, and four assists for the Hotshots, who lost for the third straight time this conference, their worst start since also going 0-3 in the 2014 Philippine Cup.

Box Scores:

NLEX 106-Thornton 35, Lanete 21, Taulava 14, J. Villanueva 12, Alas 10, Anthony 9, Enciso 3, Reyes 2,Borboran 0, Khobuntin 0, Wilson 0, E. Villanueva 0

Star 99-Bowles 30, Maliksi 21, Simon 21, Yap 10, Pingris 9, Barroca 6, Melton 2, Torres 0, Sangalang 0, Reavis 0, Pascual 0

Quarterscores: 22-26, 50-55, 77-82, 106-99

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