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NLEX survives wild ending to salvage comeback win against Mahindra


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--NLEX handed Mahindra a second straight loss after a 4-0 start in come-from-behind fashion, 82-81, in their PBA Governors' Cup tie at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

The Road Warriors, however, still had to avert a potential late meltdown to preserve the win.

NLEX went on an 11-0 run in two-and-a-half minutes to bounce back from a late eight-point deficit and lead, 82-79, with exactly two minutes remaining in the ballgame.

But two free throws from Enforcer James White signaled what would be a wild finish to the match.

Henry Walker was slapped with a 24-second violation in the next play, but Sean Anthony made up for that by stealing the ball from KG Canaleta.

However, Mahindra got the ball back after Kevin Alas committed a turnover of his own only for Canaleta to miss a potential go-ahead basket.

The Enforcers got another chance after White blocked Walker's attempt, but Alas saved the day for the Road Warriors as he stripped White of the ball at the final horn.

Walker led all scorers with 39 points for NLEX along with 13 rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Alas finished with four steals alongside 13 points and three rebounds.

Canaleta had 23 points, five rebounds, and two assists, while White added 21 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks for Mahindra.

Box Scores:

NLEX 82-Walker 39, Alas 13, Villanueva J. 9, Taulava 8, Khobuntin 4, Villanueva E. 4, Baracael 3, Anthony 2, Akl 0, Forrester 0, Monfort 0, Soyud 0

Mahindra 81-Canaleta 23, White 21, Digregorio 11, Pinto 7, Elorde 5, Taha 4, Jaime 3, Ramos 3, Aguilar 2, Yee 2, Ballesteros 0, Guinto 0, Agovida 0, Webb 0

Quarterscores: 24-17, 36-30, 60-59, 82-81

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno