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NLEX now 4-0 in Govs Cup after rallying against Phoenix


By Dugout Philippines

QUEZON CITY--As Coach Yeng Guiao himself admitted, the real test for his NLEX crew is coming.

For the moment, Guiao and his Road Warriors are determined to milk their continuing streak as long as they can.

Bannered the most by Carlo Lastimosa and Alex Mallari in the fourth period league-leading NLEX pulled off a 95-91 victory over Phoenix Sunday to stay unbeaten in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Aaron Fuller notched 18 points on top of 24 rebounds, but Lastimosa and Mallari shone the most in the fourth quarter and made possible the Road Warriors’ big fight back from a 10-point deficit earlier in the period.

Lastimosa scattered 11 of his 14 points in the canto and Mallari nine of his 14, capped by a booming triple that gave NLEX a 93-87 lead and fully put the game beyond Phoenix’s reach with only 9.5 seconds to go.

In the end, NLEX emerged with its fourth victory in as many games that solidified its first-ever hold of the leadership.

The way his charges kept their poise in another grind-out game that came on the heels of their 122-114 double overtime win over Rain or Shine pleased Guiao more.

“It’s really a nice game for us. We’re starting to look like a team,” said Guiao. “In the endgame we’ve been able to hold our own and pull through in crisis situations.”

The real gauge of where his team is compared to the league’s elite, Guiao pointed out, comes in three of their next four games wherein his Road Warriors would be facing the likes of defending champion Barangay Ginebra, Meralco and San Miguel Beer.

“Our next game is Ginebra. I guess that would really be a good measure of what kind of a team we truly are,” said Guiao. “We’ve been surviving on the run and I just hope we’re able to sustain it.”

Box Scores:

NLEX 95-Fuller 18, Mallari 14, Lastimosa 14, Alas 13, Quinahan 10, Fonacier 5, Monfort 4, Soyud 4, Tiongson 4, Taulava 4, Rios 3, Baracael 2, J. Villanueva 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Ighalo 0

Phoenix 91-Phelps 31, Wright 17, Baguio 8, Jazul 8, Dehesa 8, Eriobu 7, Kramer 4, Intal 4, Lanete 4, W. Wilson 0, Alolino 0, Borboran 0

Quarterscores: 14-15, 39-43, 64-69, 95-91

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