Don Trollano and Kevin Alas joined hands in the final frame as NLEX held off Meralco, 90-75, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City on Saturday, June 25.
Alas put on the work early in the final frame before Trollano took charge down the stretch as they combined for 19 of the Road Warriors’ 25 fourth quarter points to slam the door on the comeback hopes of the rallying Bolts and pick up their third win in five games.
Trollano poured 11 of his 19 points total in the final 12 minutes of the game while Alas also scored eight of his 14 markers during that stretch which also went with five assists and three steals.
JR Quinahan scattered 16 markers on a 2-of-2 clip from the distance – none bigger than the dagger triple he drilled to push the lead to 16 points, 87-71, and put the fight out of Meralco with 2:31 left in the game.
Justin Chua and Calvin Oftana also provided solid contributions with 15 and 12 points respectively for the Road Warriors who also came out on top of its psy war against the Bolts.
Emotions even ran high in the third frame where Meralco coach Norman Black and NLEX mentor Yeng Guiao figured in a verbal exchange following Aaron Black’s frustration hit on Mike Miranda.
Guiao, for his part, was glad his wards powered through the heated match especially after coming off a 19-point collapse against Ginebra in their last game.
“I think malaking bagay ‘to psychologically kasi sa Ginebra ang laki ng lamang namin nahabol kami. Feeling ko may chance kami manalo sa Ginebra nung time na iyon pero nagkulang sa end game so ito we were trying to hold on,” said Guiao.
“This is going to be another close game so what we want is to be a little bit more mature sana mag maganda yung pag finish namin pero sinwerte kami pumasok yung tres ni JR malaking bagay yun sa stretch na iyon tapos we made the stops,” he added.
Chris Newsome was the lone bright spot for Meralco with 17 points although the Bolts still managed to threaten in the final frame, cutting NLEX’s lead to just one, 65-64, after a left corner triple from Reynel Hugnatan early in the final frame.
That was the signal for Alas and Trollano to take over, scoring the next 19 points for NLEX while limiting Meralco to just seven points during that stretch.