By JAY R. GOTERA
MANILA — The NLEX Road Warriors snapped a five-game losing streak, stunning sister team TNT KaTropa Texters, 110-98, in a lone Saturday night PBA Philippine Cup road game in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The Road Warriors finished off the Texters with a 17-4 run in the endgame to clinch only their second win in seven games.
NLEX climbed a notch higher in a tie with the Meralco Bolts at 10th to 11th place with four games left in its elimination round schedule. Only the top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
The loss ended TNT’s two-game winning streak as the Texters dropped to a 4-3 win-loss card, tying GlobalPort and Phoenix at third to fifth spot, and giving Rain or Shine (4-2) the solo second spot.
NLEX’s two new recruits—Carlo Lastimosa and Bradwyn Guinto—delivered the crucial baskets at crunch time. Lastimosa finished with a game-high 22 points, including seven in the last five minutes. Guinto scored six of his 11 points also in that span of time on top of eight rebounds.
Sean Anthony tallied 13 points and 13 boards, while Kevin Alas and Eric Camson added 12 markers apiece for the Road Warriors.
Asi Taulava, who earlier expressed a desire to be traded for lack of playing time, was fielded by NLEX coach Yeng Guiao for just 6:26 minutes, producing three points and three rebounds.
Jayson Castro once again came off the bench to lead TNT with a team-high 17 points. However, he took 17 shots to reach his total. He also had seven assists, five boards, and two steals in 32 minutes of action. Moala Tautuaa and Kris Rosales added 15 markers apiece.
The score was close for most parts of the game, with TNT taking a 94-93 lead in the fourth quarter after back-to-back baskets from Tautuaa and a three-point play from Castro.
But Lastimosa and Guinto led a furious NLEX counterattack in the homestretch, holding TNT to just four points in the last six minutes of the game to come away with the victory.
Games Sunday: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters vs. Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters and Barangay Ginebra Kings vs. San Miguel Beermen.