NLEX overcame a tepid start and added to TNT’s woes, 97-84, for its fifth win in the PBA On Tour, Wednesday night at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The Road Warriors fell victim to a 37-point Tropang Giga explosion in the first 12 minutes, but quickly gathered themselves in the next frame as they eventually seized control of the game en route to their second win in a row.
“Bad start. Ang lambot. Nagpapa-pasok pa at the same time ‘yung three-pointers nila. I just asked my players to just be patient, stick to what we’re doing, and unti-unti naman, nakahabol,” said head coach Frankie Lim.
Tony Semerad finished with 23 points in the victory that saw NLEX launch an 18-0 blitz for a 47-45 lead early in the third quarter, laying down the groundwork for a successful comeback. Semerad fired 16 in the said chapter.
“He’s always in shape,” Lim lauded of his forward. “Masipag si Tony sa practice, workouts. Makikita mo sa gym everyday. It’s paying off. He’s been out for a while because he had some injuries pero gumaganda rotation ko with him around.”
Don Trollano finished with 16 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. Clint Doliguez also produced 16 while Kevin Alas made 14 points and five of the team’s 11 steals. Sean Anthony added 11 markers and seven boards.
Veteran big man Jake Pascual scored only four points but made a huge contribution on the boards as he collared 18 rebounds.
The Road Warriors (5-5) can finish their preseason run on a high versus Ginebra in the tourney’s final day on Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
“Back-to-back wins na kami, so maganda going into the Ginebra game on Sunday. Sana we just continue, para masanay kami manalo,” Lim said.
Carl Cruz, on the other hand, paced TNT with a game-high 26 points in the collapse, which led to their ninth loss in 10 outings.
Glenn Khobuntin backed him up with 24 points and 10 rebounds while Jaydee Tungcab added 12 for the Tropang Giga, who, after scoring in bunches in the opening period, got held to eight measly points in the following stanza.
TNT will try to conclude their On Tour campaign with a victory against Troy Rosario and the 6-4 Blackwater also on Sunday.
NLEX 97 – Semerad 23, Doliguez 16, Trollano 16, Alas 13, Anthony 11, Nieto 6, Pascual 4, Guissani 3, Paniamogan 2, Adamos 2.
TNT 84 – Cruz 26, Khobuntin 24, Tungcab 12, Jopia 6, Marcelo 5, Heruela 3, Varilla 3, Reyes 3, Montalbo 2, Cuntapay 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Quarterscores: 17-37, 41-45, 74-68, 97-84.