Simmons delivers on promise

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star

ANTIPOLO, Philippines — One for the road.

As a perfect parting shot, outgoing import Jonathon Simmons powered NLEX to its fourth straight win in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the expense of Phoenix, 98-94, last night at the Ynares Center.

Simmons scattered 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals as he gave NLEX a share of the lead with idle Converge while fulfilling his personal 4-0 promise before leaving for China.

“It’s been a great experience. I had a great group of guys, and a good coaching staff. Unfortunately, I have to leave,” said Simmons, who is scheduled to fly out tomorrow. “(If given the chance) I won’t hesitate to come back for coach Frankie (Lim).”

The 33-year-old Simmons’ stint with NLEX was cut short by a lucrative contract in the Chinese Basketball Association.

“Kinda sad (to leave NLEX this soon). There’s a lot of money on the table and I’m a family guy. So this move was mostly for my family. And coach (Lim) and NLEX have been very understanding since the first time we addressed this,” he said.

“It’s too bad Sims (Simmons) had to leave but again, we just have to go on and work more with our 4-0 run,” said Lim.

Simmons now yields the spot to a fellow former NBA player, Wayne Selden, who will lead the Road Warriors moving forward.

“I’ll miss his leadership. This guy knows how to win games. He’s a nice guy to work with even in practice, magaan kasama,” said Lim.

Simmons fired nine of his output in the fourth period to restore a 92-76 spread for NLEX after Phoenix erased its initial double-digit spread.

Led by the outside sniping of RJ Jazul, the Fuel Masters made one final rally but NLEX fended them off with insurance free throws by Tony Semerad, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and Kevin Alas.

In the nightcap, Meralco overpowered Blackwater, 125-99, to get back on track following its shocking 96-88 loss to Terrafirma last week.

The Bolts improved to 3-1 while sending the Bossing reeling to 1-3.


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