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NLEX maintains its chances of making the playoffs alive and eliminates Meralco

Dec 1, 2022

NLEX defeated Meralco, its sibling club, 92-81, in the PBA 47th season Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday after coming back from an 18-point deficit to keep its playoff chances alive.

With a 5-7 win-loss record at the conclusion of their elimination-round campaign, the Road Warriors emerged as the only club from the MVP bloc still in the running for a quarterfinal spot after turning it on in the second half.

Contrarily, Meralco dropped to 4-7 after losing its second consecutive game and was eliminated from contention regardless of the outcome of their final game against San Miguel Beer.

San Miguel, NorthPort, and Phoenix Super LPG received free passes to the quarterfinals thanks to Meralco’s loss, while the Road Warriors are now hoping for a loss by Rain or Shine over Magnolia on Friday to force a playoff for the No. 8 berth.

NLEX coach Frankie Lim made the statement following their second straight victory “Pumapalag pa,”.

Lim acknowledged that at the halftime break, he was enraged at the dugout.

“All I asked of my team is to be decent in defense, making stops that will trigger our offense. They enjoy running and going on offense. It’s like a reward for them if they make stops. And I think that’s what happened in the second half,” said Lim.

Aaron Black scored 17 points and KJ McDaniels scored 22 against his former team, but the Bolts struggled in the second half without starters Chris Newsome and Raymond Almazan.

On the other hand, Cliff Hodge broke Meralco’s scoring slump, but his basket came too little, too late, as Clark made a pair of free throws to secure the victory.

Don Trollano, the current PBA Player of the Week, provided Clark with 16 points and 9 rebounds, and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser added 10 points and 2 blocks.

With 6 and 5 points each, Kris Rosales and Paul Varilla contributed significantly for NLEX in the last round, which the Road Warriors won 28-10 to clinch their second consecutive victory.

Guard Aaron Black of Meralco came out firing and scorched for 17 points in the first half, including 14 in the first quarter, as his team led 57-39 at the break.

Yet, NLEX kept Black scoreless for the remainder of the game as the Road Warriors outscored the Bolts by 53 points in the second half, while they only managed to score 24 points in the final two quarters.

When his previous team NLEX defeated Meralco in the loss, McDaniels contributed 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

The Bolts dropped to 10th place with a 4-7 record, and even if they forced a three-way tie with the Road Warriors and the Elasto Painters given that they suffered losses to both groups in the elimination rounds, they would no longer be in the running for a quarterfinal spot.

For the first time since the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup, Meralco, which received 12 points from Allein Maliksi, will be absent from the playoffs.

The Scores

NLEX 92 – Clark 40, Trollano 16, Ganuelas-Rosser 10, Chua 6, Rosales 6, Alas 6, Varilla 5, Miranda 3, Nieto 0.

Meralco 81 – McDaniels 22, Black 17, Maliksi 12, Hodge 8, Quinto 8, Banchero 7, Caram 5, Jose 2, Pascual 0.

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