NLEX beats Phoenix to win PBA Draft Combine mini tourney

NLEX prevailed the PBA Draft Combine mini-tournament. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG—NLEX ruled the PBA Draft Combine mini-tournament after edging Phoenix in the final, 78-71, on Wednesday at the Gatorade Hoops Center.

Bolstered by four players from current MPBL leaders Pampanga Giant Lanterns, NLEX leaned on the familiarity of each other as the team rallied back in the second half to edge Phoenix.

"Matagal na kaming magkakasama nina [Jayson] Apolonio, [Raymond] Binuya, at MJ Garcia. Ang laking tulong na magkakasama kami sa draft combine," said MPBL All-Star Archie Concepcion, who was named the draft combine MVP for his consistent brilliance.

Concepcion finished with 14 points to backstop Binuya, who had 21 to lead NLEX.

Cliff Jopia, Rodney Fuentes, Enrique Caunan, Regie Basibas, Jonathan Del Rosario, and Bryan Santos complete the lineup.

NLEX took home PHP50,000, while Concepcion won for himself PHP10,000 for being the MVP and part of the Mythical Five.

Apolonio, Warren Bonifacio, Adrian Nocum, and Ralph Cu completed the Mythical Five, and they each won PHP5,000.

Brandray Bienes and JC Cullar each tallied 13 markers to lead Phoenix, which won PHP25,000 for being the runner-up.

The mini-tournament was set for the coaches and scouts to check out the players' coachability and capability to work through in-game situations ahead of Sunday's draft.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno