The NLEX Road Warriors showed their poise against title contenders San Miguel Beermen to nab a hard-earned 103-100 win in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup Sunday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Import Aaron Fuller tallied 26 points and 22 boards to pace the Road Warriors (6-2) who blew a 15-point lead but still weathered furious runs by the Beermen (3-2) to register the solid victory against the Grand Slam-seeking squad.
JR Quinahan added 17 points and 10 boards while Larry Fonacier finished with 16 point spiked by four triples.
The Road Warriors zoomed to a 25-10 lead in the first quarter but San Miguel unleashed its juggernaut offense, going on a 14-0 run to erase their deficit at the end the first quarter.
NLEX however regained control, taking a 48-39 halftime lead. Marcio Lassiter then waxed hot, scoring eight straight points to tie the game at 67-all in the third period.
The Beermen finally took the lead, 70-68, after Arwind Santos launched a three-pointer right before the buzzer.
But the Road Warriors fought back, starting the final frame with a 9-2 run to take an 81-77 lead.
The Beermen then tied the game once again and traded blows with NLEX in the dying minutes. Fonacier however sank back-to-back triples to give the Road Warriors a 101-97 lead with 23 seconds left.
But two free throw misses from Alex Mallari opened the door for a comeback from San Miguel which was just down by three, 103-100, with three seconds remaining.
The Road Warriors then handcuffed Alex Cabagnot in the last play, trapping him in the corner to prevent him from getting a good look.
Wendell McKines had 28 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Beermen. Lassiter, Santos and Cabagnot each dropped 19 points apiece in the loss.
NLEX 103 – Fuller 26, Quiñahan 17, Fonacier 16, Mallari 10, Tiongson 8, Alas 7, Soyud 7, Baguio 5, J. Villanueva 3, Lastimosa 2, Al-Hussaini 2, Taulava 0.
SAN MIGUEL 100 – McKines 28, Lassiter 19, Santos 19, Cabagnot 19, Fajardo 6, Ross 4, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Espinas 2, Heruela 1, Tubid 0.
Quarterscores: 25-24, 48-39, 68-70, 103-100.