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PBA: NLEX spills Blackwater

MAC Cardona

Game Today (Xavier Gym, Cagayan de Oro City)
5 p.m. – Alaska vs Gloablport

The song remains the same for these two former D-League rivals, and even in the PBA, North Luzon Expressway finds ways to dominate Blackwater.

Veteran center Asi Taulava poured 15 of his 24 points in a decisive run in the third quarter as newcomer NLEX spilled Blackwater, 104-84, last night in the PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Ynares Center.

Taulava, wearing classic low-cut, white-and-blue Chuck Taylors, delivered another stirring performance as the 41-year-old turned back time anew with 8-of-11 shooting from the field while grabbing 10 rebounds.

The 6-foot-9 center barreled his way through the shaded lane in the third quarter, overpowering the opposition during a 21-7 run that turned a 58-49 lead to 81-56 on free throws by fellow elder statesman KG Canaleta with 2:57 left in the period.

All five starters finished with double digits for NLEX as Mark Cardona contributed 21 points, Jonas Villanueva 17, Aldrech Ramos 16, and Mark Borboran 10 markers.

The win snapped a three-game skid for NLEX as it improved to 3-4, while the setback sank Blackwater deeper as it remained winless in eight outings – the only team left without a win so far.

“We worked hard on our execution both on defense and offense. But it’s still a long way for us,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez, who called the shots when the Road Warriors figured in memorable encounters with the Elite in the PBA D-League.

Ogie Menor, still sporting his Lizard-themed hairdo, led Blackwater with 15 points.

Meanwhile, Globalport meets Alaska in the Petron Saturday Special today at 5 p.m. at the Xavier gym in Cagayan de Oro City.