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Red-hot Mahindra rallies past NLEX

The suddenly high-scoring Mahindra Enforcers blitzed the NLEX Road Warriors in a huge fourth quarter rally to take home their second straight win, 106-99, Friday evening at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

It was a close game all throughout, with Mahindra holding the lead for the majority of the game. Behind rookie Fil-Am Simon Enciso, the NLEX Road Warriors rallied back and took the lead 88-85.

“We expected the runs. Yun yung binigyan ko nag pansin sa team namin,” Chito Victolero shared. “Last conference, pag nag-rurun yung kalaban na-rarattle kami.”

The Enforcers were able to turn back their opponents with a game-breaking 15-4 rally with Augustus Gilchrist, KG Canaleta, and Aldrech Ramos contributing on both ends. A pair of jumpers from Canaleta sandwiching a bucket from import Gilchrist capped the rally for Mahindra.

Mahindra assistant coach Chito Victolero emphasized that the off-season prepared his team well for the grind, saying, “we have to play 48 min consistent basketball.” He then added that they prepared well for NLEX especially during the second half. “NLEX is a second half team. They play hard in the second half. I want my players to play consistent basketball,” he said.

Player of the game Gilchrist praised his teammates, since the great ball movement the team displayed led to the win. “This is a team game and I have good players around me. We know how to play and we moved the ball well,” Gilchrist said. The import tallied a game-high 30 points on 12/22 shooting and 10 boards. Five other Enforcers scored in double-figures, with Canaleta scoring 21, 12 points coming from three-point range, and Chito Jaime notching a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards to lead the locals.

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“We started the pre-season with a different mindset. This is the result of our hardwork,” Gilchrist added.

For the Road Warriors, Al Thornton scored 29 points on 50% shooting from the field. He grabbed nine boards but committed five turnovers. Sean Anthony added 19 points and nine boards, while Asi Taulava notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

As a team, Mahindra shot 47% from the field compared to 43% by NLEX.

Mahindra Enforcers (3-1) will next play on Wednesday, March 2, against the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at the Ynares Sports Arena in Antipolo City. On the other hand, the NLEX Road Warriors (2-2) look to bounce back on Friday, March 4 as they play the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Scores:

Mahindra (106) – Gilchrist 30, Canaleta 21, Jaime 15, DiGregorio 13, Ramos 12, Revilla 10, Dehesa 5, Guinto 0, Pinto 0, Hubalde 0, Yee 0.

NLEX (99) – Thornton 29, Anthony 18, Villanueva J. 15, Taulava 10, Enciso 9, Alas 8, Lanete 5, Borboran 3, Khobuntin 2, Villanueva E. 0, Reyes 0.

Quarterscores: 27-20, 48-45, 74-70, 106-99.

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