ANGELES CITY—The NLEX Road Warriors hit their stride on the road and stopped their bleeding with a 110-98 reversal of the TNT KaTropa Texters in the PBA Philippine Cup Petron Blaze Saturday Special at Angeles University Foundation gym here.
The Road Warriors picked up a good rhythm late in the first half, then engaged the Texters in a nip-and-tuck battle before hitting full steam that allowed them to break away in the homestretch.
Carlo Lastimosa, Sean Anthony, Bradwyn Guinto, Kevin Alas and Eric Camson made things happen as the Road Warriors checked a five-game slump and improved a notch up to joint 10thplace with the Meralco Bolts at 2-5.
Lastimosa top scored with 22 points, Anthony delivered a double-double game with 13 points and 13 rebounds while Guinto, Alas and Camson chipped in at least 11 points each as the Road Warriors foiled the Texters’ shot at solo second place behind the San Miguel Beermen.
Instead, TNT dropped down to joint third with GlobalPort and Phoenix Petroleum at 4-3.
The Texters set the pace most of the first half but suffered a big blow as Ranidel de Ocampo went down with an ankle sprain midway through the third.
De Ocampo failed to return after being carried by his teammates to their bench.
Still, the Texters fought a good fight until running smack into a wall, failing to score a single field-goal basket in the last six minutes of play.
They were still ahead at 94-93 before hitting dry spell. They were held to four points — all from the stripe – in that long, lonely stretch.
From a 15-day breather, the Road Warriors returned an organized lot, and went on to get back on the winning track after successive losses to Meralco, Star, Blackwater, San Miguel Beer and Rain or Shine.
Out on injury on those losses, Rico Villanueva made a comeback and helped NLEX past TNT with seven points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal in 17:38 minutes of action.
Asi Taulava, sticking it out with the team after his talk with team manager Ronald Dulatre and coach Yeng Guiao, saw action for 6:27 minutes and produced three points and three rebounds against one error.
With NLEX down by one at 93-94, the Road Warriors worked on a 13-2 attack to seize control entering the last two minutes of play.
The Texters set the pace most of the way but the Road Warriors came through with an eight-to-nothing run towards the end as the two teams fought to a 52-all deadlock in the first half.
NLEX erased a seven-point deficit and led by six at 51-45 on a key turnaround before the halftime break.