NLEX baffles ROS in double OT thriller to go 3-0


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--NLEX could only rack up two wins in each of the first two conferences of the 2017 PBA season.

Three games into the Governors' Cup, the Road Warriors now have three wins.

NLEX soared to 3-0 in the team standings after a 122-114 win over Rain Or Shine at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

The Road Warriors, however, needed two overtimes to depose the Elasto Painters.

NLEX was actually ahead by nine points at three junctures early into the fourth quarter, the last at 94-85.

ROS, however, went on a 12-2 run to take a 99-96 advantage with 4:38 remaining in regulation.

The Road Warriors then scored five straight points, the last on a go-ahead triple by Larry Fonacier, to retake the lead, 101-99, with 3:30 left in regulation.

They appeared to contain the E-Painters in the dying moments of regulation, but the Warriors could not also buy a basket and Maverick Ahanmisi scored with 23 seconds left in regulation for a 101-all tie.

Aaron Fuller flubbed a potential game-winning shot, giving ROS 13.7 seconds to steal the win in regulation.

Fuller bounced back and stole the ball from Chris Tiu, eventually setting up Fonacier for the win from deep, but he missed the buzzer-beater and five more minutes were added.

The game remained tight for most of the first overtime session, but it took a dramatic turn when Kevin Alas fouled Tiu with 6.3 seconds to go and the game tied, 108-all. Tiu made both free throws to put the E-Painters up, 110-108.

Alas, however, bounced back with a bang, zooming in with a equalizing layup with 2.6 seconds left for the 110-all count.

James Yap had one more chance for ROS, but he missed the potential game-winning triple as the clock struck zero, sending the game to a second overtime.

NLEX then leaned on its defense to shut down ROS, limiting the team to only four points while scoring 12 to finally seal the win.

Alas, who has become the revelation for the Road Warriors this conference, finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, while Fuller led them with 33 points, 20 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block.

James Weatherspoon had 20 points, 16 rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal for the E-Painters, but he shot 6-of-21 from the field.

Box Scores:

NLEX 122-Fuller 33, Alas 24, Quinahan 13, Fonacier 11, Lastimosa 10, Mallari 9, Tiongson 6, J. Villanueva 5, Taulava 4, Soyud 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Ighalo 2, Monfort 0, Rios 0

Rain Or Shine 114-Weatherspoon 20, Belga 15, Yap 14, Ahanmisi 13, Chan 12, Norwood 10, Cruz 10, Almazan 10, Tiu 9, King 1, Ponferada 0

Quarterscores: 26-27, 59-55, 84-81, 101-101, 122-114

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