NLEX closed out its 2019 Commissioner’s Cup campaign on a winning note, outlasting the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters, 87-85, Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Already eliminated going into their final game for the conference, the Road Warriors played with nothing to lose and went home with the win even without head coach Yeng Guiao who was ejected during the closing seconds of the game.
“It’s nice to win. Kahit papaano may pabaon kaming panalo. We survived a badly officiated game,” said Guiao.
“Anyway, this is just a sendoff for us, on a winning note. We’ll take the win, however it is, and start preparing for the next conference. We’ll take a short break, but after that we’ll start working on our preparations,” added the concurrent Gilas Pilipinas Men’s team coach.
Import Olu Ashaolu paced the Road Warriors with 17 points and 17 boards but missed 2 crucial free throws which gave the Fuel Masters a chance to steal the game. Matthew Wright, however, missed on a desperation triple as time expired.
Kenneth Igahalo, who was adjudged as the player of the game, backstopped Ashaolu with 14 points while JR Quinahan and Philip Paniamogan added 12 markers apiece.
RJ Jazul led the Fuel Masters’ losing cause with 20 points while Wright added 16.
NLEX 87 – Ashaolu 17, Ighalo 14, Quinahan 9, Paniamogan 9, Erram 7, Cruz 6, Lao 5, Tiongson 5, Fonacier 5, Taulava 4, Soyud 4, Varilla 2, Baguio 0, Galanza 0.
Phoenix Pulse 85 – Jazul 20, Wright 16, Mallari 13, Howell 11, Intal 6, Marcelo 6, Perkins 2, Napoles 0, Wilson 0, Guevarra 0, Gamboa 0.
Quarterscores: 21-11, 45-32, 65-54, 87-85.