Carlo Lastimosa and Alex Mallari combined forces in the payoff period to lead Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to a come-from-behind 95-91 win over Phoenix Petroleum, 95-91, on Sunday to remain perfect at 4-0 in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Lastimosa unloaded 11 of his 14 points in the final quarter, while Alex Mallari provided the assurance triple late in the game as the Road Warriors stretched their winning streak to six games dating back last conference.
“It is a nice win for us,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao. “We are starting to look like a team and we’re able to hold our own and pull it through. I don’t know if this is real or not, but this is a good sign for us. It’s also encouraging.”
Import Aaron Fuller poured in 11 of his 18 points in the third quarter and grabbed 24 rebounds, while Mallari added eight of his 14 points in the final quarter.
Kevin Alas posted 13 points while burly center JR Quinahan chipped in 10 points and five boards for the Red Warriors.
After trailing majority of the game, NLEX made its move and Mallari’s lay-up put the Road Warriors within one, 81-80, 5:10 remaining.
Matthew Wright gave the Fuel Masters their last taste of the lead, 82-81, as Mallaro and Lastimosa combined forces and put the Road Warriors ahead by five 90-85, 1:09 left in the game.
Phoenix forward Doug Kramer scored in the next play, 87-90, but Mallari delivered the dagger with a triple at deep left corner, 93-87, with 13 ticks left in the game.
Eugene Phelps posted 31 points, 18 rebounds and six assists while Wright had 17 points to lead Phoenix, which absorbed its second straight loss after a 2-0 start.
NLEX 95 – Fuller 18, Mallari 14, Lastimosa 14, Alas 13, Quinahan 10, Fonacier 5, Monfort 4, Soyud 4, Tiongson 4, Taulava 4, Rios 3, Baracael 2, J. Villanueva 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Ighalo 0.
PHOENIX 91 – Phelps 31, Wright 17, Baguio 8, Jazul 8, Dehesa 8, Eriobu 7, Kramer 4, Intal 4, Lanete 4, W. Wilson 0, Alolino 0, Borboran 0.
Quarters: 14-15, 39-43, 64-69, 95-91.