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Winless no more: Mahindra notches first win at expense of NLEX

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After dropping their first three games of the young PBA season, the Mahindra Enforcers barged into the win column as they defeated the NLEX Road Warriors, 103-93, held at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City, Friday evening.

The Enforcers came out firing from the get-go as they led for the entire opening quarter. Ramos and Canaleta led the way with seven quick points apiece for Mahindra, and their crew built an early double-digit cushion at 26-16 after the first period. In addition, they only had one turnover to top their impressive start.

As the second unit hit the floor, Mahindra extended their gap with a 12-4 start capped by a jumper by Kyle Pascual and a three-ball courtesy of Mark Yee. However, NLEX went on a run, capitalizing on four first half fouls by LA Revilla. Asi Taulava and Sean Anthony paced the Road Warriors to a 15-6 run in the last 4:39 of the first half to slice 17-point lead down to eight at the break.

The third quarter was a low-scoring affair that favored the Enforcers. Despite NLEX starting to make noise in transition, they were haunted by their turnovers. The Road Warriors managed to trim the lead down to six, but three huge long jumpers in the final minute by Aldrech Ramos, KG Canaleta and Paolo Hubalde restored a 14-point lead heading into the final period.

A strong run to open the fourth period paved the way for a 20-point gap with over six minutes left. During the stretch, Hubalde made a good hustle, a couple of free throws and a three-point play to cement the game-deciding rally. In the final stretch, Mahindra continued to pressure with a pressure full-court defense that protected their lead en route to their first win.

Balanced scoring for Mahindra yielded five players in double figures led by Ramos, Canaleta, and Pascual who all had 14 markers. On the other end, it was the ageless Asi Taulava who spearheaded the losing Road Warriors with a tremendous 31-point, 9-rebound effort. Sean Anthony added 19 points and 13 boards in the loss.

Head coach Chito Victolero commended his crew for the defense they played, but mentioned that the team needs to work on being a unit. After the game, Victolero praised the team’s defense. “They had a good job on defense. (KG, Aldrech) mga beterano na sila. They know what to do,” he said. “Medyo adjusted na sila pero hindi pa siguro 100% pero I think majority ng sistema namin alam na nila.”

“Siguro yung chemistry at camaraderie kailangan nila i-adjust sa iba pang players”

For Kyle Pascual, who played a great comeback game off the bench, he emphasized putting in the effort that paid dividends for their first win. “Today I just wanted to make an effort because I missed the last two games. Right now I’m not really at 100% but I’m getting there and I’m thankful for the win. I wanted to make my presence felt.”

Mahindra (1-3) will next face the Barako Bull Energy Cola (1-2) on Tuesday, November 17 at 4:15 pm in Alonte Arena, Biñan, Laguna. Meanwhile, NLEX (2-2) will have the Talk ‘N Text (2-1) as their next assignment on Friday, November 20 at 7pm in the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:
Mahindra (103) – Ramos 14, Canaleta 14, Pascual 14, Revilla 13, Yee 11, Hubalde 9, Guinto 8, Pinto 7, Bagatsing 5, Alvarez 4, Webb 2, Dehesa 2, Jaime 0.
NLEX (93) – Taulava 31, Anthony 19, Enciso 9, Arboleda 8, Villanueva J. 8, Borboran 5, Alas 3, Camson 2, Reyes 2, Villanueva E. 1, Apinan 1, Lanete 0, Khobuntin 0.
Quarterscores: 26-16, 51-43, 74-60, 103-93.

Photo by PBA Images

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