The NLEX Road Warriors finally barged into the win column after fending off the Meralco Bolts 100-91 in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Road Warriors almost squandered a 23-point lead but they did enough in the final minutes to stop the Bolts' comeback efforts.
Tony Mitchell led his team in the win that put an end to their six-game slump in the conference. He delivered 32 points, 19 rebounds, and four assists.
Jericho Cruz also played well in his second game with NLEX as he chipped in 16 points and six assists.
"We've been waiting for this for quite a long time," coach Yeng Guiao about their maiden victory.
A dunk by the returning Gani Lawal made it a four-point ballgame midway through the fourth quarter. Mitchell responded with a jam of his own, then JR Quiñahan followed up with a jumper that pushed the Road Warriors lead to eight.
KG Cañaleta knocked down a three-point shot to keep Meralco within striking distance before Mitchell and Cruz put the finishing touches for NLEX.
Lawal had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the loss that dropped the Bolts to a 3-5 card.
With a 1-6 slate, Guiao hopes that their winning ways will continue as they attempt to save their campaign.
"We have four games left, there's still a mathematical chance that we can make the next round," he said. "That's something for us to chase but of course the probability is not that good. But again we'd like to look at our chances as something to motivate us still even at this point."
NLEX 100 - Mitchell 32, Cruz 16, Galanza 13, Paniamogan 8, Quinahan 7, Erram 7, Ighalo 6, Varilla 4, Lao 4, Tiongson 3, Paredes 0, Soyud 0.
Meralco 91 - Lawal 15, Newsome 14, Salva 14, Amer 13, Canaleta 10, Jackson 6, Pinto 6, Almazan 5, Caram 4, Faundo 2, Hodge 2, Hugnatan 0, Quinto 0.
Quarterscores: 27-25, 56-49, 85-70, 100-91
Nico Salva and Chris Newsome combined for 28 points and six rebounds to help pace the Bolts.
Meralco outrebounded NLEX, 47-41, and scored 16 second-chance points. But the Road Warriors had a 20-10 advantage in turnover points.
NLEX vs. Barangay Ginebra, June 23 (Sunday) at the Batangas City Coliseum.
Meralco vs. Magnolia Hotshots June 29 (Saturday) in Zamboanga City.