Olu Ashaolu returned to NLEX for some unfinished business and immediately made an impact on his very first game as the Road Warriors outlasted the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters 100-97, Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 31-year old Nigerian-Canadian led the team with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists as the yeng Guiao-mentored squad picked up its second win in nine starts in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Oshaolu, who also played for the team last season but was replaced by Aaron Fuller due to a knee injury, came in as a replacement for Tony Mitchell as the Road Warriors begin their preparations for the upcoming Governors’ Cup
“I had some doubts about Olu’s condition before this game. He arrived three days ago. Medyo nagdududa ako what shape he is in but he looked good in practice. We just ran a couple of plays for him, our basic plays. It’s a good thing he was able to sustain his energy both on offense and defense,” said Guiao shortly after the match.
“The import really is a key factor in changing the complexion of the game. We are getting ourselves ready for the next conference. In the meantime, we will try to get as many wins as we can,” added the concurrent national team coach.
Jericho Cruz finished with 15 points while Kenneth Igaho and Poy Erram added 13 apiece. Erram also contributed 7 rebounds and 2 blocks including the ‘game-winning’ rejection on Denzel Bowles with 3 seconds left on the game clock.
Bowles paced the Elasto Painters, who dropped to 3-4, with 35 points and 9 rebounds but also committed a game-high 6 turnovers.
NLEX 100 – Ashaolu 26, Cruz 15, Ighalo 13, Erram 13, Tiongson 8, Soyud 7, Varilla 6, Quinahan 5, Paniamogan 5, Lao 2, Paredes 0, Baguio 0.
Rain or Shine 97 – Bowles 35, Rosales 18, Daquioag 13, Mocon 12, Belga 9, Nambatac 7, Norwood 2, Alejandro 1, Ponferada 0, Borboran 0, Torres 0.
Quarterscores: 23-23, 51-38, 81-64, 100-97.