NLEX conjures 1st quarter defensive wizardry to annihilate Blackwater

John Bryan Ulanday - Philstar.com
NLEX conjures 1st quarter defensive wizardry to annihilate Blackwater
Don Trollano banged in 16 markers, three rebounds and three assists in only 23 minutes off the bench for NLEX.
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Games Saturday
Mall of Asia Arena
5:15 p.m.  – Rain or Shine vs Terrafirma
7:15 p.m. – Converge vs Phoenix Super LPG

MANILA, Philippines – NLEX hijacked Blackwater and ran away with a 98-68 victory highlighted by a defensive masterclass in the first quarter to arrest its skid and beef up its playoff aspirations in the PBA Philippine Cup Friday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.

On a three-game slump, the desperate Road Warriors caged the Bossing to a meager two-point opening quarter — tied for the lowest quarter output in league history — and never looked behind en route to a 30-point beatdown to solidify their place inside the playoff picture at 5-5.

Don Trollano banged in 16 markers, three rebounds and three assists in only 23 minutes off the bench while four more players finished in double digits for NLEX that led by as many as 41 to climb to seventh spot with a game left against Northport.

Calvin Oftana (15), JR Quiñahan (12), Justin Chua (11) and Kris Rosales (10) joined the barrage to step up for injured ace Kevin Alas (sore hamstring) in NLEX’s big win after costly losses to Magnolia, Converge and Rain or Shine.

“It’s the defensive tone set by our starters. Kinayod talaga nila kasi delikado kapag nabigyan ng momentum ang Blackwater. Out of desperation na rin, it’s for survival. Gusto naming makabawi kasi magkakasunod na talo namin,” said coach Yeng Guiao as the Road Warriors banked on a blistering 31-2 start for their big win.

“Our season was on the line din kaya kung matalo kami baka ma-out pa kami. Nag-focus lang talaga kami sa defense,” added Trollano, crediting the NLEX starters.

The Road Warriors raced to a 9-0 start before allowing a Yousef Taha bucket in the 7:57 mark that proved to be Blackwater’s last field goal the rest of the quarter to tie Northport, Barangay Ginebra and Mobiline for the least number of quarter points in 47-year PBA history.

Northport (2020 Philippine Cup), Ginebra (2003 All-Filipino) and Mobiline (2001 All-Filipino) also settled for two markers in their 70-68, 83-54 and 82-69 losses against Rain or Shine, Coca Cola and Sta. Lucia, respectively.

Guiao said the NLEX’s backbreaking defensive showing was also a respect for the capability of a whole different Blackwater squad this time that once held a 5-1 record after going on a 29-game losing skid last season.

“Matinding paghahanda ‘yung ginawa namin for Blackwater. They're a different team from a year ago. Parang fan na nga rin ako ng Blackwater. They really played good games. You have to respect that,” Guiao added, lauding the preparations of his whole coaching staff.

No player scored in twin figures for the Bossing, who slipped to 5-4 after bleeding for a 1-of-17 clip in the deciding first quarter, with Taha (9) serving as the only bright spot.

The scores:

NLEX 98 – Trollano 16, Oftana 15, Quiñahan 12, Chua 11, Rosales 10, Soyud 6, Nieto 6, Semerad 6, Varilla 5, Ighalo 4, Paniamogan 4, Fonacier 3, Magat 0.

Blackwater 68 – Taha 9, Ular 8, Amer 8, McCarthy 6, Casio 6, Dyke 6, Eboña 6, Publico 5, Melton 3, Sena 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 3, Escoto 3, Torralba 2, Suerte 0, Ayonayon 0.

Quarterscores: 31-2, 56-26, 78-40, 98-68.





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