|NLEX import Olu Ashaolu issued a double-double despite one good knee in the Road Warriors' win over TNT KaTropa. PBA Media Bureau.|
By Ricky Manliguis
ANTIPOLO—NLEX hardly missed the absence of its head coach as it pulled the rug from under TNT, 103-90, in the main game of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Friday night at the Ynares Center.
Import Olu Ashaolu delivered a double-double performance, while his teammates fired the killer blows in the endgame for the Road Warriors, missing the services of coach Yeng Guiao and veteran Asi Taulava who are participating in the Asian Games in Jakarta.
The win also was the first under assistant coach Jojo Lastimosa.
Ashaolu scored a game high 33 points and 23 rebounds despite playing with a pateliar tendon tear. Mac Tallo scored 16 points against his former club, while Larry Fonacier added 14.
The Road Warriors also got an added boost from new players Phillip Paniamogan and Bong Galanza, as the duo scored 20 points on a combined 8-of-15 shooting.
After a tight three quarters, the Road Warriors turned up the heat in the final quarter, turning a 78-74 lead to a 93-78 cushion on five straight Fonacier points with 6:05 left.
Tallo then fired a booming triple for the largest lead of the ballgame, 102-85, and held on from there.
"You can see he was all-out tonight with half a leg not functioning," Lastimosa said of the Nigerian-Canadian import. "So you can see that he really wanted to win the game for the players."
The Alaska legend also gave praises to Paniamogan and Galanza, who last played in the Mahralika Pilipinas Basketball League.
"They were awesome. More than their shooting, what they brought to the game was the activity in terms of being able to stay with the quicker guys in the perimeter and the ball handlers," said Lastimosa.
Terrence Romeo finished with 27 points for TNT, who only got 11 points and 15 rebounds from reinforcement Mike Glover.
NLEX hopes to bring in the replacement for Ashaolu in time for its next game against Magnolia Hotshots on Wednesday.