NLEX Road Warriors 123 – NorthPort Batang Pier 107
Olu Ashaolu made sure that he went out with a bang. The current import of the NLEX Road Warriors played his second game with a knee injury and was able to deliver another win against the NorthPort Batang Pier. Even if he was in pain, he still put up a team-high 27 points and 13 rebounds. The NLEX locals stepped up to help their injured import as six other players scored in double figures.
It was the locals that set the tone for the game. Larry Fonacier, Mac Tallo and Alex Mallari all found the bottom of the net as the Road Warriors jumped out to an early nine-point lead. The Road Warriors continued to pound on the Batang Pier as they went on an 11-5 run to close the first period, taking a 15-point moving forward.
The Batang Pier went on their own run in the second period to get back in the game. Rashad Woods and Mo Tautuaa feasted in the paint. They opened the quarter on a 26-17 run on the broad backs of their bigs to get to within three points heading into the half. NLEX was done mucking around after halftime. Ashaolu scored seven straight points to open the third period as the Road Warriors rebuilt their double-digit lead. Sparked by their injured import, the rest of the Road Warriors joined in as they grew the lead up to 17. They cruised to an easy win after that game-changing run.
TNT KaTropa 92 – Meralco Bolts 90
The TNT KaTropa had to play without their import Mike Glover against the Meralco Bolts and the reigning Best Import Allen Durham. Needing a boost in the game, Terrence Romeo flirted with a triple-double to lead his team to a big win over the Bolts. TNT avoided falling into a 0-2 hole with a clutch performance from the locals.
With four minutes left in the game, the Bolts held a seven-point advantage over the KaTropa. That was when TNT made their move. RR Pogoy nailed a big three-pointer to spark the run. Romeo was aggressive into getting to the hoop and it resulted in three-straight freebies to cut the lead further, down to just one point. Chris Newsome increased the Meralco lead back to three with some free throws of his own. The KaTropa tied the game a possession later when Jayson Castro buried a three-pointer over Durham.
TNT was rolling at that point. Pogoy got into the lane for a floating jumper to give the KaTropa the lead with a minute left. Castro then drove to the hoop and found a wide-open Romeo on the left corner for the dagger three-pointer to give the KaTropa a five-point lead. The two teams traded free throws as TNT escaped with a big win. Romeo led TNT with 23 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. Castro had 16 points, five boards and six dimes. Pogoy added 19 points off the bench.
Photo from PBA.ph