Wayne Chism scored 22 points, and NLEX made one clutch free throw after another in the game’s homestretch to beat Alaska 100-92 at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday for the Road Warriors’ 1st win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
NLEX’s Achilles heel has been its late-game composure, but it showed nerves of steel to snap out of a 0-9 start in the conference.
The Road Warriors made 11 of 12 free throws in the last 2:26 of the 4th quarter, preserving a victory that wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for a 2nd-quarter run that had them overturning a huge early deficit.
Juami Tiongson scored 16 points for NLEX, a bunch of those coming during his team’s 1st-half comeback. JR Quiñahan also had 16, while Kevin Alas finished with 11 points.
It was NLEX’s 1st victory since January 7 when it defeated TNT in the PBA Philippine Cup. The Road Warriors went on to lose 13 straight — 4 to end the all-Filipino conference and 9 to start the Commissioner’s Cup — before Wednesday’s win.
A quick start put Alaska ahead 35-18 after the 1st, but NLEX got back into the game with a 33-13 rally to go up 51-48 at halftime.
Neither team seized control after the break, with the Road Warriors’ late showing at the free-throw line being the difference maker.
Cory Jefferson finished with 34 points and 20 rebounds, while Vic Manuel added 17 for Alaska, which lost its 5th straight and fell to 4-5 in the standings.
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