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NLEX rips NorthPort




ANTIPOLO CITY – Jojo Lastimosa won his second straight game serving as interim coach of the NLEX Road Warriors after leaning on hobbling import Olu Ashaoulu in the third quarter to beat the NorthPort Batang Pier, 123-107, in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center here.
Ashaoulu, playing with a partial tear on his right knee, scored 13 of his 27 points in the third that allowed the Road Warriors to break away from a 61-58 halftime lead and go 2-0 in the season-ending conference even without coach Yeng Guiao.
Guiao, who is in Jakarta calling the shots for the national team in the Asian Games, quickly sent his congratulatory message to Lastimosa immediately after the match.
“Congrats, coach. Nice job,” Guiao said in his text message which Lastimosa read during the postgame interview with scribes, jokingly adding that “Hanap na ako work dito sa Jakarta. Mukhang hindi ako kailangan diyan (I’ll look for work here in Jakarta. It looks like I’m no longer needed there).”
Lastimosa once again praised another determined showing from Ashaoulu, who Lastimosa said was diagnosed to have a 70 percent tear on his right patellar tendon.
Ashaoulu will play his final game on Wednesday against Magnolia at the Smart Araneta Coliseum before undergoing rehab to see if he can still suit up later in the conference.
Aaron Fuller, who led NLEX to last year’s Governors’ Cup quarterfinals, is due to arrive tomorrow but won’t be eligible to suit up for Wednesday’s contest.
“He’s defying the doctor’s orders,” Lastimosa said. “Half of it is dangling already and I don’t know how he’s playing but you go to give the guy credit. He’s just showing tremendous heart and I think the players picked up on that because he really wants to play.”
Mark Tallo and Larry Fonacier added 14 points each while Kenneth Ighalo added 11 for the Road Warriors, who took a 34-19 first quarter lead before regaining strength after the Batang Pier even took the lead late in the second.
Rashad Woods delivered 42 points in a losing effort for NorthPort, which underwent a name change after carrying the GlobalPort name since its inception in 2012.
Meanwhile, Jayson Castro is not crying over spilled milk despite failing to suit up in the Indonesia Asian Games due to unforeseen circumstances. Castro even hailed the Guiao-mentored national squad for its performance in Friday’s 96-59 win over Kazakhstan.
“Masaya naman kami sa lahat ng nagrerepresent ng country namin kasi hindi naman individual yun at saka hindi naman team yun, country yun (We’re happy regardless of which team representis our country because it’s not about the individual or a team, it’s about the country),” Castro said.
Castro is suspended one game by FIBA for his part in the brawl between Gilas and Australia in the World Cup Qualifiers last month.
The scores:
NLEX 123 – Ashaolu 27, Fonacier 14, Tallo 14, Quinahan 12, Ighalo 11, Mallari 10, Tiongson 10, Baguio 8, Paniamogan 5, Marcelo 4, Miranda 4, Galanza 4.
NORTHPORT 107 – Woods 42, Tautuaa 20, Taha 15, Grey 13, Javelona 8, Teng 5, Guinto 3, Elorde 1, Espinas 0, Gabayni 0.
Quarters: 34-19; 61-58; 94-78; 123-107.