NLEX trounces Blackwater, 93-89

MANILA — With no Kiefer Ravena to lead the team, the NLEX Road Warriors turned to a total team effort to turn back Blackwater Elite, 93-89, at the resumption of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Wednesday night.

As Ravena sat out the game with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas seeking clarifications about the parameters of the 18-month ban slapped to him by FIBA, the Road Warriors showed that they can still be one cohesive team, rallying back from a late nine-point deficit to send the Elite to the brink of outright elimination in the mid-season conference.

NLEX felt the absence of Ravena and injured guard Kevin Alas when the team trailed, 77-86, with 5:23 remaining in the game.

But Arnett Moultrie led the team’s 13-0 charge that put the club up, 90-86, with 1:27 remaining.

Blackwater stayed afloat and even came close to stealing the win after the returning Henry Walker stole the ball away from Moultrie, but as the team was setting up its play, Allein Maliksi lost the ball to Alex Mallari, who went all the way for the eventual dagger three-point play with 9.7 seconds remaining.

Moultrie finished with 26 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, one block, and one steal for the Road Warriors, who moved up to 2-4.

Juami Tiongson, who started at the quarterback position with Ravena’s absence, finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 assists with five rebounds.

Dave Marcelo tallied five markers, three boards, and one steal in his first game with the Road Warriors.

Mike DiGregorio made 25 points, three rebounds, and two assists for the Elite, who remain winless at 0-7.

Walker netted 12 points, 15 caroms, three dimes, five swipes, and one swat in his return.

Rabeh Al-Hussaini debuted for the Elite with four points and three rebounds.