NLEX played the spoiler role’s in the homecoming of its former coach Yeng Guiao at Rain or Shine, grinding out a 96-90 victory to open the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a win even without new head coach Frankie Lim at the PhilSports Arena on Friday Sept. 23.
Earl Clark, the import Guiao picked when he was still the head coach of the Road Warriors, bucked three early fouls to lead his team especially in the final frame where they created the much-needed separation to come away with the victory behind the guidance of interim head coach Adonis Tierra.
Clark finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds but shone brighter on the defensive end with six blocks and four steals. He formed a deadly twin tower with Justin Chua who combined for 17 points in the payoff period to pull away from a slim 75-73 lead early in the fourth.
The Road Warriors then embarked on a blistering 16-6 run allowing them to build a 14-point lead, 91-77, which they never relinquished until the final buzzer.
Chua had 18 points and eight rebounds while Kevin Alas chipped in 15 points and seven boards.
Steve Taylor Jr. paced the Elasto Painters with 21 points and 12 rebounds while Rey Nambatac added 11. Rain or Shine managed to cut the lead down to single digits in the waning minutes but a couple of defensive stops from the Road Warriors slammed the door on the Elasto Painters comeback hopes.