IMPORT Olu Ashaolu and Kiefer Ravena assumed their usual 1-2 roles for NLEX last night and the rest of the Road Warriors were quick to follow suit.
Rallying behind its two main guys, NLEX outgunned Blackwater 115-109 in a record-breaking PBA Governors Cup shootout at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Laguna.
Ashaolu finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds while Ravena added 25 points, seven rebounds and as many assists as the Road Warriors notched their third win in as many games to regain solo leadership.
The likes of JR Quinahan, Philip Paniamogan, Bong Galanza, Larry Fonacier and Kenneth Ighalo chipped in their ample share, helping keep NLEX on its road to redemption following dismal finishes in the season’s first two conferences.
The loss was Blackwater’s second in as many games although it put up a much more gallant fight than in a 107-135 shellacking from TNT last Wednesday.
Bobby Ray Parks again led the Elite with 28 points and six assists while Marqus Blakely lived up his pre-game promise of being more aggressive by notching 18 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and five blocked shots.
The output was significantly higher than the one-time Best Import’s four-point, five-rebound effort against TNT.
The game’s biggest distinction, however, belonged to Paul Desiderio, who finished with a career-high 24 points highlighted by six of Blackwater’s total 19 three-point shots.
Together with NLEX’s own 18 rainbow shots made, the game took over the top spot in the record books as one with the most triples made, dislodging the 35 made between the San Miguel Beer-TNT game last June 17.
Desiderio was responsible for tying the old record and booking a new one with the last two triples of the fourth quarter. Still, those weren’t enough to stop the Road Warriors from their tracks with the last one moving Blackwater to 107-113.
Although seemingly manageable, the difference proved to be insurmountable enough when the Elite could not make enough significant headway the rest of the way.
Chiefly responsible was Ravena, who followed up a Fonacier bomb with back-to-back triples, the last tying the old record and giving NLEX a 106-95 spread.
Free throws by Quinahan and Ravena further stretched the Road Warriors’ lead before Ashaolu completed a three-point play that pegged a 113-104 count.
Blackwater dominated the game early but the tide began turning NLEX’s way when Ravena went 4-for-4 from the field, including two triples, for 10 points in his five-minute stint in the second quarter, leading NLEX back from a 19-25 count and into a 36-29 spread.