JR Quinahan returned from a hand injury to put up 16 points while Philip Paniamogan scored a conference-high 14 points as the Road Warriors bounced back after disappointing losses to the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots, TNT Tropang Giga and NorthPort Batang Pier.
The Road Warriors stayed in sixth place with a 5-5 record ahead of the seventh-running Batang Pier (4-4), eighth place Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (4-5) and No. 9 Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters (4-6).
“We wanted to go into this game with a sense of urgency,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao. “Our mindset is really to make the five wins desperately. We needed the five wins desperately. That’s going to give us a chance to make the next round.
“We’re also trying to build back our confidence after yung losses namin, so ganun ka-importante itong panalo na to sa amin,” he added.
Don Trollano had 12 points and six rebounds while Kenneth Ighalo and Kevin Alas added 11 and 10 as NLEX handed Blackwater its 18th consecutive loss, tying the record of Great Taste back in the 1980 season.
Ironically, Blackwater has not won since defeating NLEX, 98-88, on Oct. 17 last year for a 2-1 start in the Philippine Cup bubble in Angeles City.
Simon Enciso scored 17, Carl Bryan Cruz had 14 points while rookie Joshua Torralba added 10 points, three rebounds and two steals for the struggling Bossing, who once again missed starters Kelly Nabong and Baser Amer due to injuries.
The Bossing overcame a 28-22 first quarter deficit to lead 36-33 on a Frank Golla triple halfway into the second period.
But the Road Warriors closed the quarter on a 13-2 run, with Ighalo scoring six and Jericho Cruz knocking down a three that put them ahead 46-38 at the half.
A balanced scoring led by Quinahan kept NLEX ahead in the third before Paniamogan hit two triples in the fourth to highlight a final stretch that saw the team lead by a high of 21.
NLEX 90 — Quinahan 16, Paniamogan 14, Trollano 12, Ighalo 11, Alas 10,Porter 8, Cruz 8, Oftana 4, McAloney 3, Soyud 2, Miranda 2, Ayonayon 0, Galanza 0.
BLACKWATER 73 — Enciso 17, Cruz 14, Torralba 10, Golla 6, Canaleta 6, Magat 6, Daquioag 5, Desiderio 4, Tolomia 3, Escoto 2, Dennison 0, Paras 0.
Quarters: 28-22, 46-38, 70-58, 90-73.
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