NLEX Road Warriors 93 – Blackwater Elite 89
The NLEX Road Warriors back court was hobbled with Kevin Alas still recovering from an injury and Kiefer Ravena unsure due to a FIBA suspension. They relied on clutch performances from Arnett Moultrie and Alex Mallari to take down the Blackwater Elite for their second win of the conference.
The Elite brought back new import Henry Walker in an effort to change the flow of their conference. Walker wasn’t much of a factor in the game as he struggled to find his shot, shooting only 2/15 for the game. Thankfully, the Elite locals picked up the slack. JP Erram scored on a jumper to give Blackwater a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter. NLEX battled back but Mike DiGregorio and Erram restored a nine-point lead midway through the final period.
In danger of letting the game slip away, the Road Warriors came alive. NLEX exploded for a 13-0 run with Moultrie leading the way. He scored six points during that stretch that was capped off by five points from Mallari and Juami Tiongson. Allein Maliksi and DiGregorio were able to cut the deficit down to just one point. But Mallari came up clutch with an and-one score to extend the lead and close out the Elite. Moultrie led the way with 26 points and 16 rebounds. Mallari scored 10 points and had five assists. Tiongson, stepping in for Ravena had a double-double of 10 points and 10 assists.
San Miguel Beermen 106 – Phoenix Fuel Masters 94
The San Miguel Beermen overcame a slow start by erupting with a game-changing run in the fourth quarter to get their first win of the conference over the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
The Beermen didn’t look like a team desperate for a win to start the game. They looked sluggish as their offense was out of sync in the first quarter. They only managed to score 17 points in the first 12 minutes. The Fuel Masters took advantage of this slow start as the locals teamed up in the second quarter to extend their one-point lead to 12 points behind nine points combined from Jason Perkins and Matthew Wright. San Miguel only managed to score 37 points in the first half of the game.
San Miguel wouldn’t stay down for long. They woke up after halftime to score 69 points and pull away from the the Fuel Masters. Their run started in the third quarter powered by Renaldo Balkman. The San Miguel import scored 14 points in the third quarter as San Miguel overtook the Fuel Masters. Balkman was close to unstoppable as he scored on jumpers and seamlessly fit into the system getting easy looks inside. San Miguel took a two-point lead heading into the final period.
Phoenix continued to fight as they traded leads with San Miguel early in the fourth quarter. The Fuel Masters took a two-point lead on an RJ Jazul three-pointer with a little over four minutes left in the game. That’s when San Miguel exploded for a game-clinching run. Balkman and June Mar Fajardo feasted in the paint as San Miguel scored 10 straight points before a free throw by Eugene Phelps broke Phoenix’s scoreless run. At that point it was too late, Alex Cabagnot scored on a three-pointer followd by inside buckets from Fajardo and Arwind Santos. San Miguel had taken over, leading by 14 points with less than a minute left in the game.
Balkman led all scorers with 35 points. He was a monster in the paint with 17 rebounds and four blocks. Santos and Cabagnot came off the bench to combined for 26 points and six three-pointers.