NLEX Road Warriors fall short against Guangzhou Long Lions

MACAU - The Guangzhou Long Lions played with a lot of composure down the stretch as they held off NLEX's second half rally to hack out a 75-63 win and book a finals seat in the 2018 Asia League Summer Super 8 on Saturday at the Macao East Asian Games Dome.

The Chinese ball club got off to a hot start, leading by as many as 18 points during the first half.

But the Road Warriors fought back in the second half, narrowing the gap to 46-48 on the strength of a 12-2 run with playmaker Mark Tallo leading at the forefront.

China's gunner Shirelijian Muxtar and sweet-shooting slotman Zheng Zhun though kept Guangzhou's ship afloat, knocking down three-point baskets time and time again in the final period.

NLEX's last hurrah came inside the last five minutes on a jumper by JR Quinahan to push his team within 58-64, before Guangzhou unleashed a backbreaking 11-5 windup to earn the right to face Korean Basketball League squad Seoul Samsung Thunders in the finals set this Sunday.

The Thunders booked the first finals spot earlier in the day after outlasting fellow KBL team ETLand Elephants, 84-74.

Muxtar led the Chinese team with 21 points, spiked by four triples.

NLEX will face ETLand in the battle for third place also on Sunday.

Zhun, the seven-foot big man came off the bench to add 15 markers, converting three triples, while Ju Mingxin and Guo Kai had 14 and 10, respectively.

Meantime, Tallo led NLEX with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists, but no other players scored in double figures.

The scores:

GUANGZHOU 75 - Sherilijian 21, Zheng 15, Ju 14, Guo 10, Minyang 9, Tian 3, Wang 2, Song 1, Gu 0, Heng 0, Yao 0.

NLEX 63 - Tallo 16, Baguio 8, Tiongson 7, Ighalo 6, Quinahan 6, Taulava 6, Buenafe 4, Miranda 4, Marcelo 2, Rios 2, Soyud 2, Uyloan 0.

Quarters: 26-13, 46-34, 54-50, 75