Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) hurdled past the struggling Alaska squad 100-92, despite the absence of import Wayne Chism in the closing minutes of the game on Wednesday, notching its first win in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Chism, who had 22 points, fouled out with still five minutes left in the game, but the Road Warriors were able to sustain their charge to snap a nine-game losing streak.
“We caught a big fish today. Alaska is hard to beat with their pressure defense. It’s a good win for us,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao, who also stopped a 13-game losing skid last conference.
“We made last week some painful and hard decisions. We just have to prove that we did those right decisions,” added Guiao, referring to a series of trades that allowed them to recruit Alex Mallari, Larry Fonacier and JR Quinahan.
It was NLEX’s first win since its 110-98 conquest of sister team TNT KaTropa last January 7 in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Chism was called for his final foul with 5:20 left and the Road Warriors were still up, 86-82.
The Aces unloaded a quick 5-0 spurt capped by Simon Enciso’s lay-up for a slim 87-86 lead.
But the Road Warriors responded with their own 8-1 burst to reclaim the lead, 94-88, with 1:12 remaining.
Alaska tried to mount another comeback but to no avail as the Aces absorbed their fifth straight defeat after starting the conference with a 4-0 win-loss card.
Quinahan and Juami Tiongson added 16 points each while Kevin Alas had 11 points for the Road Warriors.
Import Corey Jefferson led Alaska with 36 points and 20 rebounds. Alaska dropped to 4-5 and must sweep its last two assignments to guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals.