PBA: NLEX pulls away late, sends NorthPort to third straight loss

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2023 09:45 PM | Updated as of Jan 28 2023 11:12 PM

PBA Images.
Jonathon Simmons fueled NLEX to a 2-0 record. PBA Images.

MANILA (UPDATED) - The NLEX Road Warriors surged to a second straight win in the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup after pulling away for a 121-112 triumph over the NorthPort Batang Pier, Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Import Jonathon Simmons led the way with 33 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a 43-minute stint, while Don Trollano provided ample back-up with 23 points on an efficient 7-of-11 shooting clip. 

The Road Warriors improved to 2-0, joining Converge and the TNT Tropang GIGA at the top of the league standings. The Batang Pier, meanwhile, fell to 0-3.

It was a back-and-forth game all the way through, with 12 ties and 15 lead changes. A transition layup by Roi Sumang forced the last deadlock at 104-all with 6:24 to play, as the Batang Pier pounced on a poor pass by Kevin Alas.

But Alas made up for it with a crafty layup on the other end to give NLEX the lead for good, 106-104, with 5:28 left. That sparked an 8-0 scoring blast for the Road Warriors, capped by a Trollano jumper for a 112-104 spread with 3:20 to play.

"It's just a matter of talking to them and telling them don't give me surprises in the game. Just do what we've been practicing. Execution lang," NLEX coach Frankie Lim said of his team.

"Sabi ko, it's all hard work in practice. It'll give you good dividends come game time," he added.

NorthPort import Marcus Weathers tried to will the Batang Pier back into the contest, and his layup with 1:47 left off a goal-tend by Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser made it a five-point game, 115-110. 

But the Batang Pier fumbled their chance when they committed a shot-clock violation with under a minute to go, and Ganuelas-Rosser made up for his earlier miscue with a putback of an Alas miss that pushed their lead to seven points, 117-110. 

A lay-up by Sean Anthony with 24 seconds to go iced the game for the Road Warriors.

Alas finished with 18 points and six assists, and Anthony had 16 points and eight rebounds against his former team. The Road Warriors scored 24 points off NorthPort's 20 turnovers, and their bench out-scored their Batang Pier counterparts, 48-23. 

Weathers put up 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting for NorthPort, but also committed six turnovers. Arvin Tolentino fired 19 of his 23 points in the first half before being held in check the rest of the way. 

This was NorthPort's third loss in six days, having opened their Governors' Cup campaign last Sunday, January 22, with a 122-92 loss to Converge. On Thursday, January 26, their comeback fell short in a 107-102 defeat to Meralco.

The Scores:

NLEX 121 – Simmons 33, Trollano 23, Alas 18, Anthony 16, Ganuelas-Rosser 12, Semerad 9, Rosales 5, Nieto 3, Miranda 2, Pascual 0

NORTHPORT 112 – Weathers 30, Tolentino 23, Zamar 15, Munzon 12, Calma 9, Sumang 9, Taha 7, Chan 3, Dela Cruz 2, Ayaay 2, Caperal 0

QUARTERS: 26-31, 63-60, 97-91, 121-112.

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