ANTIPOLO—NLEX played through without its fiery head coach Yeng Guiao and repulsed TNT, 103-90, to take an opening day victory in the PBA Governors’ Cup Friday at Ynares Center here.
Deputy Jojo Lastimosa mentored the Road Warriors with Guiao leading the Philippine basketball team in the ongoing Asian Games
Oluseyi Ashaolu, who was nursing a sore right knee due to a partially torn patellar tendon, still had a monster debut, unleashing 33 points, 23 rebounds and three assists for NLEX.
NLEX, although in control for most of the game, waited until the fourth quarter to create a big enough lead between itself and the KaTropa.
The Road Warriors entered the final frame with a small 78-74 lead but started on a 13-2 run to take the 93-78 lead off of Larry Fonacier’s layup.
“Of course it’s always nice to win but upon leaving coach Yeng only wished that when he comes back from the Asian Games that we’re not in a 0-2, or 0-3, or 0-4, hole,” said Lastimosa.
“He wanted to return to a team who’s in contention for the playoffs and that’s a challenge for us staff and I think the players did a good job in terms of what we wanted against TNT.”
Although Jayson Castro finished with 15 points, he only managed to convert just two of his 11 field goal attempts with the other of his 11 points coming from the line.
Mac Tallo helped NLEX with 16 points while Fonacier and PBA returnee Philip Paniamogan had 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Terrence Romeo had a team-high 27 points for the KaTropa.
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