Nlex rips Blackwater

September 26, 2018
Raul Soyud
Raul Soyud battles Mac Belo and Henry Walker during the NLEX-Blackwater game in the PBA

Game  Saturday:

(Cagayan de Oro City)

5 p.m. --  Phoenix  vs. Ginebra

NLEX did  what four other heavyweight teams failed to do: beat Blackwater.

And returning NLEX coach Yeng Guiao couldn’t be happier.

“We  did it,” said  Guiao after  the  Road Warriors  completed a  surprisingly easy   124-106 win over the previously  unbeaten Elite in the  PBA Governor’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Matagal-tagal din kaming naghanda nung nakita namin na this team is really for real. We made  sure  that  we  were  prepared for this game,”  added  Guiao, who made  his return  after  his  coaching stint with the PBA-backed national  team in  the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia and  the FIBA World  Cup 2019  qualifiers that lasted  for almost   two months.

Added  Guiao: “The plan was to sacrifice  (Henry) Walker’s scoring. The keys to winning for Blackwater is the  locals combining with Walker on offense and four to five guys  in  double figures. I figured we have to pick our poison. It  was decided  that Walker can go one-on-one but prevent him from setting up his teammates,”

Mission  successful  for   Guiao and NLEX.

Import  Aaron Fuller and Larry Fonacier finished  with 24 points apiece for NLEX, which even led by 24 points, 84-60, in the third  quarter before   staving off a last-ditch  comeback by Blackwater.

Fuller also had  20 rebounds, four assists and two steals in a solid  effort  that  overshadowed the 16-point,13-rebound effort of Blackwater counterpart Henry Walker.

Fonacier also provided  a strong  presence on  the  offensive floor  for the Road Warriors  with six  three-point shots against the Elite’s  scrambling defense.

The win enabled NLEX to improve  to  4-2  --  setting aside their ego-deflating   112-125 setback to San Miguel Beer last Sept. 1.

Blackwater dropped to second place behind new leader Phoenix, which has a 5-1 win-loss record.

Actually, NLEX  had to overcome a  sluggish start before taking control of the game late in the second quarter.

The Road Warriors put the game away  with several long scoring splurges in the  middle quarters  with  back-to-back triples by Fonacier, and Kenneth Ighalo  giving  them a  commanding 81-58 lead with  5:11 left in the third period.

The closest the Elite could come from  there  was nine, 92-101, on Roi Sumang’s triple.

Ighalo added 18 points, six rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes  for NLEX.

Sumang  led   Blackwater with  24 points  on 8-of-15 shooting from the  floor, followed  by Walker and  Paul Zamar with 16 points  apiece.

Walker, however, struggled with only 6-of-17 shooting, including  0-of-6  from  the   rainbow territory.

Blackwater also played minus the ailing JP Erram.

Overall,  NLEX  made  20 -of-44 shooting  from  the  three-point area  for  45  percent   compared  to only 7-of-27  by  Blackwater or  25 percent.

The Road  Warriors also had more  rebounds, 51-46,  an d  more assists,  34-16, than the  Elite.

Meanwhile, former  Utah  Jazz  mainstay Kevin Murphy is reportedly  set  to replace former “Best  Import” awardee  Arizona  Reid  as San Miguel import in  this season-ending  tournament.

In  a Spin.Ph  report  yesterday, San Miguel  reportedly  decided to part ways with Reid to turn  their campaign around.

San  Miguel suffered  a  disappointing  102-110-102 loss to a  badly-depleted  Barangay Ginebra side last Sunday.

Reid, a two-time Best Import,  struggled with  only  6-of-21 shooting from the field  and a 1-of-6 clip  from  three-point  range to finish with just 13 points as   San Miguel lost for the second time in three outings for an even 2-2 card.

Sources said    the San Miguel coaching staff  took  more than an hour before emerging from the team dugout  following the loss to the Gin Kings.

The scores:

NLEX (124) --  Fonacier 24, Fuller 24, Ighalo 18, Miranda 9, Paniamogan  9, Galanza  8, Quinahan 8, Tiongson  6, Baguio 6, Soyud 4, Rios 4, Monfort 3, Taulava 1, Tallo 0.

Blackwater (106)-- Sumang 24, Walker 16, Zamar 16, Pinto 15,  Al-Hussaini 7, Sena 6, Jose 6, Maliksi 5,  Digregorio 5, Belo 4, Palma 2, Javier 0.

Quarterscores: 24-19, 55-45, 90-75, 124-106.