Import James White tallied 30 points and 23 rebounds as Mahindra ended a two-game losing skid with an 89-81 win over Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) on Friday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Floodbuster, showing a more balanced game and capitalizing on an early advantage foiled the Road Warriors’ fourth quarter comeback improving its win-loss record to 1-2.
“Extremely gritty win tonight,” Mahindra assistant coach Chris Gavina said in a postgame interview. “We are moving past our previous mistakes, missed assignments and lacked of execution. We played to our identity tonight.”
“We’re mentally tough as well as physically against a well-coached NLEX side.”
White finished with a 12-of-18 shooting from the field and 6-of-9 from the foul line.
Mahindra players Gary David, Reden Celda, Ryan Arana and playmaker LA Revilla contributed nine points each while Alex Mallari had seven points and five rebounds.
White, who serves as the Floodbuster’s leading scorer in the last three outings, posted 13 points in the opening period giving his team a 24-18 cushion at the start of second period. The Floodbuster sustained their fine start extending their lead to 44-34 at halftime.
Eric Camson’s basket helped NLEX close the gap, 62-66, in the final 37 seconds of the third period but the combined effort of Arana and Celda in the payoff period sealed the win for Mahindra.
It was NLEX’s seventh straight loss since the last Philippine Cup – its longest since its debut in the league in 2014.
Former Rain or Shine import Wayne Chism led NLEX with 28 points, 21 rebounds, four blocks and two assists while Jensen Rios scored 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.
MAHINDRA 89 – White 30, Revilla 9, Celda 9, David 9, Arana 9, Mallari 7, Yee 5, Paniamogan 3, Galanza 3, Deutchman 2, Apinan 2, Salva 1, Ballesteros 0.
NLEX 81 – Chism 28, Rios 15, Camson 8, Soyud 7, Lnete 6, Alas 5, Taulava 4, Lastimosa 2, Tiongson 2, Guinto 2, Khobuntin 2, Baracael 0, Monfort 0, J. Villanueva 0.
Quarter scores: 24-18, 44-34, 68-62, 89-81.