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NLEX starting to show depth after TNT win



NLEX’s first four games have been all about Sean Anthony basically doing it all for the Road Warriors. The hardworking forward amassed 18 PPG, 14 RPG, and 4.8 APG in the Road Warriors’ first four meetings.

But despite the staggering numbers, Anthony and the Road Warriors were only 2-2 in the particular stretch.

It was never enough in basketball to have only one star step up, and opposing teams have figured it out early on. Anthony needed help. Fortunately for him, the Road Warriors finally showcased some depth after a 107-101 win over the TNT Tropang Texters Friday night. Anthony was his usual self during the game which saw the Road Warriors overcome a 17-point third quarter hole. He scored 32 points on 11-for-17 shooting and hauled down 12 rebounds, but NLEX was more than just its premier frontliner.

Three others scored in double-digits for the Road Warriors, whose bench outscored the TNT reserves, 65-45. Simon Enciso captured fire in the third period, scoring 13 straight points to help the Road Warriors cut the double-digit deficit down to a more manageable one. Then in the fourth, veteran Jonas Villanueva took charge with 10 points, carrying NLEX to a huge turnaround victory, the team’s first over TNT in franchise history.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times NLEX starting to show depth after TNT win    Asi Taulava bucked off a slow start to finish with 18 points and 18 rebounds.

In a key win which pushed NLEX back to above .500 with a 3-2 record, head coach Boyet Fernandez felt relieved and hoped for his team to draw strength in its depth. “I’ve been telling the guys kailangan natin mag-execute. Yes, Asi is scoring, Sean is scoring, but if we don’t execute for the other teammates, we will have a problem,” Fernandez said.

“I am happy Simon got his touch back but hopefully in the next games, guys like Kevin (Alas) and Garvo (Lanete) step up.”

“The other teams will look to defend Asi and Sean and let the other guys beat them. But right now at least with Simon and Glenn stepping in, hopefully my other veterans step up.”

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times NLEX starting to show depth after TNT win

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Anthony felt the same, and looked forward to having the team do the same against other squads. “It was a team win,” Anthony said. “We had four guys in double figures. Total team effort. We feed off one another. Basketball is always a team game and you need your whole team.”

“It’s great to see everyone stepping up tonight. Everyone did something. Glenn (Khobuntin) played great defense. Eric (Camson) started well. Garvo was plus-27. Everyone played well and that is the only way we can beat at team like TNT, if the whole team comes out.”

NLEX has a good system and tools to raise the level of play, but unless the team utilizes all pieces, it would be difficult to compete. The Road Warrioes have realized it now, and will try to bring a different form in the next games.