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Bolick shines as NLEX ekes out close win over Meralco


Robert Bolick came out with guns blazing in the fourth quarter and willed NLEX to a 99-96 escape over Meralco for a bounce back win in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The streaky shooter poured 16 of his game-high 26 points in the see-saw final period as the Road Warriors notched their second win in three outings.

Young gun Enoch Valdez finished what Bolick started in the fourth period.

He swiped a crucial steal off the inbound pass intended for Chris Newsome leading to an all-the-way layup that sparked NLEX’s pullaway with 39 seconds left. Valdez then made a split in the foul line in the last 13 seconds for the Road Warriors’ three-point lead that forced Newsome to go for a potential game-tying three which he missed as time expired.

“Good thing we have Bolick with us. You could just imagine if he’s not here,” a relieved NLEX head coach Frankie Lim said.

“Big steal also from Enoch and Tony (Semerad) I think also had one. I would like to think of it as a team effort because everyone contributed.”

Bolick, who had no field goal in the first three quarters, was perfect on the free throw stripe, going 10-for-10 including a couple in the last 27 seconds that gave NLEX a 96-91 cushion. He had eight rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes of play.

Valdez got 12 points and six boards while Jhan Nermal added 11 markers for the Road Warriors, who came off a 95-99 loss to unbeaten Terrafirma last Sunday.

NLEX had some anxious moments with just 21 ticks left after Newsome swished the first two of his three free throws before intentionally missing the third. He pulled down the offensive board before tipping the ball over to a wide-open Allein Maliksi in the right corner for the trey that closed the gap to 98-96.

The Bolts slid to a 1-2 win-loss record.

Newsome typed in 22 points to pace Meralco while Raymar Jose had 14 markers.

Raymond Almazan chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds while Maliksi had 12. Cliff Hodge, who fumbled the ball while trying to inbound with the Bolts down by five in the last 26 seconds, had 10 markers.


Box scores:

NLEX (99) – Bolick 26, Nermal 12, Valdez 11, Herndon 9, Semerad 9, Marcelo 7, Miranda 7, Fajardo 6, Nieto 5, Amer 3, Pascual 2, Ular 2

MERALCO (96) – Newsome 22, Jose 14, Almazan 13, Maliksi 12, Hodge 10, Torres 9, Black 5, Quinto 5, Banchero 4, Rios 2, Mendoza 0, Caram 0, Pascual 0

Quarters: 26-28, 51-43, 64-72, 99-96

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