Mallari catapults Mahindra to victory

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Bradwyn Guinto of NLEX collides against LA Revilla and Jason Ballesteros of Mahindra during a PBA Philippine Cup game at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on Friday.
PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

Alex Mallari powered the Mahin­­dra Floodbuster’s 106-96 thump­ing of the Nor­thern Luzon Express­- way (NLEX) Road Warriors on Friday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

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The 6’2 combo guard Mallari posted a career-high 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field on top of 10 rebounds, nine assists and three steals as Mahindra registered its third win.

Reden Celda also notched a career-high 18 points and four steals for the Floodbuster. Mahindra’s win-loss record improved to 3-7.

“This is a career-high [performance for me]. It just happened. I took the game aggressively and made those shots,” Mallari said. “I remember my first career-high was just 23. I’m really happy that I was able to help the team. This is my fifth year in the PBA.”

Rookie Russel Escoto notched 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field before he suffered a left leg injury after a hard collision with Fons Gotladera. He missed the second half of the game.

Bong Galanza contributed 11 points, Jeckster Apinan had 10 while playmaker LA Revilla finished with nine points and five assists also for Mahindra.

“I want to deflect all credits to my players they really played for each other,” said Mahindra assistant coach Chris Gavina, who celebrated his 38th birthday on Friday. “I told them to dedicate this game to Russel (Escoto). I hope his injury is not severe. He showed why he’s a national team player he really had a national level elite skill.”

Center Jason Ballesteros posted five points, 10 rebounds and a block for Mahindra.

After trailing by five points, 22-27 at the end of first period, Mallari scored 13 points in the second period allowing them to snatch the lead, 57-49, at halftime.

Eric Camson, who posted 17 points and six rebounds, led the Road Warriors’ charge resulting in a 77-all deadlock after the third period. NLEX also outscored the Floodbuster in the third canto, 28-20, behind the combined effort of Mac Baracael and point guard Eman Monfort.

Baracael notched six of his 10 points in the third quarter while Monfort scored five also in that period.

But Mahindra was unstoppable in the remaining minutes of the game outscoring NLEX, 29-19. Jason Ballesteros’ jumper gave the Floodbuster a 99-85 lead with still four minutes left in the game. Mahindra was never threatened from that point onward.

Scores:
MAHINDRA 106 – Mallari 30, Celda 18, Escoto 12, Galanza 11, Apinan 10, Revilla 9, Deutchman 6, Ballesteros 5, Paniamogan 3, Eriobu 2, Yee 0, Elorde 0, Teng 0, Salva 0.
NLEX 96 – Camson 17, Guinto 13, Baracael 10, Khobuntin 9, Lastimosa 9, Alas 8, Rios 6, J. Villanueva 6, Monfort 5, Lanete 4, Taulava 4, Soyud 2, Gotladera 2, E. Villanueva 1.
Quarters: 22-27, 57-49, 77-77, 106-96

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