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PBA: NLEX waylays Blackwater

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Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4 p.m. – Phoenix vs San Miguel
6:15 p.m. – Alaska vs Meralco

Henry Walker fired 44 points to begin his second stint in the country as NLEX beat Blackwater, 96-90, yesterday in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Walker played as if he never missed a beat as he scored 26 points in the opening period to give the Road Warriors the early lead before thwarting the Elite’s comeback with key baskets in the fourth quarter to seal the victory in the Petron Saturday Special.

The former Boston Celtics and New York Knicks forward, who played for Alaska in the 2014 Governors’ Cup, shot 15-of-25 from the field and made six triples to help NLEX open its campaign on a high note.

“I really appreciate the way Henry played in this game,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.

Walker got enough support from Kevin Alas and Mac Baracael, who scored 12 points apiece, and Jonas Villanueva with 11 markers.

Import Eric Dawson finished with 27 points for Blackwater, which played its first game since the death of forward Gilbert Bulawan last July 3 because of a cardiac arrest he suffered at practice.

Bulawan’s No. 11 jersey was retired by Blackwater in a simple ceremony prior to tipoff. The event was graced by the former San Sebastian College bruiser’s wife Icy, forward Reil Cervantes, and team official Siliman Sy.

The Elite were hoping to give their fallen teammate a fitting tribute but Walker sizzled right away to put the Road Warriors up 31-17 at the end of the opening period.

Walker was held to just eight points in the second and third but made up for it by firing 12 markers in the fourth, including a triple from 24 feet that gave NLEX a 93-81 lead with exactly two minutes remaining.

The scores:
First Game
NLEX 96 – Walker 44, Alas 12, Baracael 12, Villanueva J. 11, Taulava 5, Soyud 4, Lanete 3, Forrester 3, Villanueva E. 2, Akl 0, Khobuntin 0, Monfort 0, Reyes 0.

BLACKWATER 90 – Dawson 27, Lastimosa 16, Cortez 14, Sumang 8, Sena 8, Canada 5, Pascual 5, Gamalinda 4, Dela Cruz 2, Erram 1, Cervantes 0, Golla 0, Melano 0, Qahwash 0, Reyes 0, Vosotros 0.

Quarters: 31-16; 53-39; 78-68; 96-90.