The NLEX Road Warriors continue their climb in the Commissioner’s Cup as they snagged their fourth straight victory in a 94-81 cruise over the Globalport Batang Pier on Sunday afternoon held at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The locals started the scoring for the ball game as Asi Taulava made inside baskets early on, despite the outstretched defense of Globalport import Derrick Caracter. Taulava and Jonas Villanueva helped Road Warriors double the output of Batang Pier at 12-6. Three-point king, Terrence Romeo countered with two triples on his own to make it a close encounter.
With double and triple teams clobbering Al Thornton, who scored a whopping 50-point exertion against Ginebra on Wednesday, he was forced to kick the ball out to wide open teammates due to multiple defenders. The entrance of KG Canaleta off the bench provided instant offense for NLEX as his jumpers found the mark.
Canaleta drilled in three jumpers including a triple to start the second period to make it a double-digit affair at 28-18. Globalport decided to play through Caracter and Romeo, and the duo quickly sliced the lead down to two. However, a triple from Aldrich Ramos stopped the scoring drought for NLEX late in the period, and they headed into halftime up by four.
In the third, Caracter muscled his way to keep the game close once again, as he scored seven of the team’s first nine points of the period. Quick to respond were the locals of NLEX, as Canaleta’s hot shooting continued with back-to-back treys to distance themselves anew at 61-52.
The double-digit spread was maintained by the Road Warriors in the final period with Canaleta scorching Romeo and the rest of the Globalport roster. Thornton continued to score on jumpers to find his mark late and keep Batang Pier at bay. Taulava’s baskets in the fourth were countered quickly by the Road Warriors’ perimeter shots. The sixth triple by Canaleta provided the nail in the coffin and cemented the team’s fourth straight win.
Canaleta scored a game-high 29 points off the bench, while Thornton and Ramos combined for 33 markers. For Globalport, who played without Stanley Pringle, Caracter posted 27 points and 14 boards, while Romeo was an assist shy of a double-double together with his 19 points.
Entering the match, the teams tied in the middle of the standings at 4-4. The win gives NLEX a 5-4 record while Batang Pier slides to 4-6.
NLEX looks to make it five-straight wins as they go up against KIA Carnival on Wednesday, 4pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, while Globalport hopes to bounce back versus Ginebra on Saturday in an out-of-town match in Lucena.
NLEX (94) – Canaleta 29, Thornton 19, Ramos 14, Taulava 8, Lingganay 7, Borboran 4, Villanueva E. 4, Villanueva J. 4, Baloria 3, Cardona 2, Arboleda 2
Globalport (81) – Caracter 27, Romeo 19, Semerad 12, Jensen 8, Nabong 6, Miranda 5, Espinas 3, Ponferada 1
Quarters: 20-16, 40-36, 65-53, 94-81