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NLEX banks on Q4 explosion to deal Meralco first loss

PBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--NLEX waxed hot in the fourth quarter and held off a gallant stand from Meralco at the death for a 100-94 in their PBA Governors' Cup meeting at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night.

The Road Warriors dropped 37 points in the final 12 minutes, but they still had to withstand one last push from the Bolts, who came to within three, 94-97, with 14.6 seconds left. The Road Warriors scored the game's last three points, all from the free throw line, to seal the deal.

Aaron Fuller led NLEX, which bounced back from a tough loss to Ginebra last week, with 25 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks, and one steal, while Kevin Alas scored 11 of his 21 markers in the pivotal fourth quarter.

Larry Fonacier had his best game in an NLEX jersey, dropping 16 points with seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Allen Durham led Meralco, which lost for the first time after a 4-0 start, with 26 markers, 14 boards, two dimes, one block, and one steal, but he was credited for six of the team's 19 errors.

Reynel Hugnatan added 25 points and nine caroms as Meralco dearly missed Cliff Hodge, who was sidelined with an ankle sprain.

Mike Tolomia, acquired in a trade for Ed Daquioag on Monday, only played for five and a half minutes in his Meralco debut, missiing both his field goal attempts and ending up scoreless.

Box Scores:

NLEX 100-Fuller 25, Alas 21, Fonacier 16, Quinahan 10, Mallari 8, Soyud 5, Lastimosa 5, Tiongson 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Ighalo 2, Taulava 2, Rios 1, J. Villanueva 0

Meralco 94 - Durham 26, Hugnatan 25, Amer 14, Sedurifa 9, Dillinger 8, Nabong 7, Newsome 5, Lanete 0, Caram 0, Chua 0, Tolomia 0

Quarterscores: 16-24, 41-44, 63-64, 100-94

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno