NLEX spoils Wright's debut as Star's struggles continue

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Star's import change hardly mattered as NLEX dealt them yet another loss in the PBA Governors' Cup, an 85-88 defeat at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.

Despite an impressive debut by Joel Wright, the Road Warriors still proved to be too much for the Hotshots as they bounced back from three straight setbacks.

NLEX led for most of the game but still had to withstand a bit of a late scare.

The Road Warriors were up, 88-83, with eight seconds remaining, but Wright scored two free throws off a Glenn Khobuntin foul with 5.8 seconds remaining.

Rodrigue Akl missed two charities in the next play, leaving the Hotshots with 3.2 seconds to force overtime, but Mark Barroca missed the equalizing triple at the final buzzer.

Henry Walker tallied 32 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, two steals, and one block for NLEX, which moved to 2-3, joining Phoenix, which snapped Mahindra's surprise run in the first game, in joint seventh.

Wright finished with 28 points, 15 points, three assists, three blocks, and one steal for Star, but he only made four of eight free throws and committed five turnovers. Star further slipped to 1-4.

Box Scores:

NLEX 88-Walker 32, Lanete 15, Taulava 10, J. Villanueva 10, Alas 7, Anthony 6, Khobuntin 4, Akl 2, Soyud 2, E. Villanueva 0

Star 85-Wright 28, Barroca 15, Pingris 14, Melton 8, Yap 8, Sangalang 4, Simon 4, Maliksi 2, Pascual 2, Garcia 0, Mallari 0, Reavis 0

Quarterscores: 29-22, 42-39, 65-60, 88-85

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