Kris Porter played a pivotal role down the stretch and helped NLEX take down San Miguel, 103-97, in the Phoenix Super Basketball Tourney, Monday at the Upper Deck Sports Center in Pasig.
The 6-foot-5 forward gave the Road Warriors the 91-90 lead with 4:45 left in the game following his three-point play conversion, and that sparked an 8-0 run that widened their edge to 96-90.
Porter then drained a triple with 1:17 on the game clock before dishing a key dime to Kenneth Ighalo underneath for a 101-95 lead with exactly 22 seconds left to apply the finishing touches in the win.
Porter, who had just returned from a serious knee injury, finished with nine points and six rebounds.
“Isa si Kris doon sa mga we’re trying to get into his groove from the injury,” said coach Yeng Guiao.
“Instead of using ‘yung mga dating mga players, I felt it was to our advantage to give these guys extra playing time so that it can accelerate their progress in terms of getting back to their old form.”
JR Quiñahan led NLEX with 14 points, four assists, and three rebounds. Kiefer Ravena and Bong Galanza provided 11 points each while Asi Taulava chimed in 10 markers on two triples.
“Any win is a good win even if it’s in practice, but we know scrimmages like this are basically trying to feel out your progress as a team,” said Guiao, who’s entering his fourth season with NLEX.
“It’s a good thing to beat San Miguel, but this is not going to be an indication of how they will play in the conference.”
Mo Tautuaa led the Beermen with a game-high 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field alongside five rebounds.
The trio of Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Terrence Romeo each finished with 14 points in the loss.
The Beermen, who will be without June Mar Fajardo for the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup and possibly the whole season due to a fractured tibia, played without Marcio Lassiter due to a fractured nose.
Both teams will see action again as the pocket tilt resumes on Wednesday, February 19. NLEX takes on the Alaska Aces at 12:00 p.m. after San Miguel battles Phoenix Pulse at 10:00 a.m.
NLEX 103 — Quinahan 14, Ravena 11, Galanza 11, Taulava 10, Porter 9, Alas 6, Miranda 6, Paniamogan 6, Soyud 6, Baguio 5, Erram 4, McAloney 4, Ighalo 4, Varilla 2, Fonacier 0.
San Miguel 97 — Tautuaa 15, Romeo 14, Santos 14, Cabagnot 14, Pessumal 8, Ross 7, Zamar 6, Escoto 6, Comboy 5, De Guzman 4, Alolino 0, Mamaril 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Austria 0.
Quarterscores: 29-22, 45-45, 74-76, 103-97.