28 February 2015

Bolts 76, NLEX 89

Al Thornton
NLEX sustained its resurgence, nailing first back-to-back triumphs before taking a long All-Star break as the Road Warriors tripped the Meralco Bolts, 89-76, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night (27 February2015).

Al Thornton put in another productive performance with 36 points and the whole NLEX team came out well prepared against Josh Davis as the Road Warriors notched a third win in their last four games and pulled even with the Kia Carnival at eighth place at 3-4.

The Road Warriors sent Davis to an early foul trouble situation and limited his effectiveness and numbers, a key factor that had the Bolts reeling to a second straight loss.

With another defeat after their 86-102 rout by the San Miguel Beermen, the Bolts now share the lead with the Talk n Text Tropang Texters and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 5-2.

But at least the Bolts have two weeks to recover from that slump as they’re not seeing action again until March 13 against the Barako Bull Energy.

The Road Warriors also take a long breather before returning to play against the Barangay Ginebra Kings on March 11.

"We’ve got) a first winning streak in a very long time. It won’t happen if not for the players playing well, especially on the defensive end," said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.

"We didn’t care to review Meralco’s last game as Davis missed the second half of that game. We focused on their first five games and we saw that the team fed on Davis’ energy and intensity," Fernandez also said.

"We tried to match his intensity. We tried to limit his rebounds. And we really attacked him in the hope of getting him into foul trouble and to create a hole in their middle," Fernandez added.

The Road Warriors succeeded in their ploy against the Meralco import, who incurred his fourth foul right in the first half and cutting short his night with his sixth and final foul with nearly three minutes left to play.

Trailing most of the way, the Bolts had come to within three at 72-75 when Thornton showed Davis the exit, drawing his last foul – an offensive infraction – on a good defensive stance at the post.

The Road Warriors pounced on Davis’ exit, finishing the game with a decisive 14-4 flurry.

Thornton also came through with 16 rebounds, two assists and one block on top of his 36 markers while Davis made only 19 points and 11 boards.

The Road Warriors set the pace almost throughout, leading by 13 at 89-76.

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