Photo by Josh Albelda
MANILA, Philippines – Veteran swingman Sean Anthony was dominant all-game long and veteran guard Jonas Villanueva hit the big shots late to lead their NLEX Road Warriors past the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters, 107-101, on Wednesday, November 20, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Anthony was up to his usual all-around play, finishing with a career-high 32 points and 12 rebounds, while Villanueva scored all of his 10 points in the fourth period where NLEX outscored Talk ’N Text, 37-24.
The Tropang Texters led by 17, 71-54, at one point in the second half before the Road Warriors outscored them 53-30 the rest of the way.
“It’s really the guys who really stepped up their game today, especially when we were down by as much as  points in the third,” said NLEX head coach Boyet Fernandez post game.
“It’s nice to get back on the winning track coming off two losses against Star and Mahindra. It’s really a test of character for us, this game. We’re happy we won this game. We stole one game against Talk ’N Text.”
Rookie guard Simon Enciso also had a great performance and sparked his team’s rally in the third period. He finished with 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting while 42-year-old big man Asi Taulava accounted for 18 points and 18 rebounds.
Talk ’N Text was led by their rookie big man Troy Rosario, the number two pick in the draft, who had his best career game with 20 points and 7 rebounds. Veteran forward Larry Fonacier came up with 18 points, while long-time big man Danny Seigle had 17 points in the loss.
Jayson Castro shot just 4-of-14 but had 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.
After NLEX closed the third quarter on a 16-6 run, it didn’t take long for them to get their first lead of the game in the fourth period thanks to a Villanueva layup, 85-83, with 7:16 to go.
Talk ’N Text momentarily re-took momentum thanks to consecutive 3-pointers by Rosario that gave his team a 90-87 edge with 5:08 to go.
The Road Warriors regained the lead with 3:19 to go when Taulava hit a basket. After Rosario misfired on a jumper, Villanueva nailed a triple to give his team a 4-point edge.
Castro free throws cut the lead to two with 2:34 remaining, but another 3-ball by Villanueva extended the lead to 5 with 2:18 left, 99-94.
Taulava then split a visit to the foul line and Castro hit the jumper to make it a 100-96 game, but a timely drawn foul by Anthony allowed NLEX to go on top by 6 with 58 seconds to go.
Rosario then missed another jumper and Anthony was fouled anew, enabling him to give his team a 104-96 lead which proved to be enough of a cushion for the win.
The win improved NLEX’s record to 3-2, which is now the same record TNT has.
The Road Warriors will be back in action against the Meralco Bolts on Tuesday, November 24, while the Tropang Texters will face the Blackwater Elite on Wednesday, November 25.
NLEX (107): Anthony 32, Enciso 19, Taulava 18, Villanueva J. 10, Khobuntin 7, Camson 4, Reyes 4, Alas 3, Borboran 3, Lanete 3, Apinan 2, Cardona 2.
Talk ’N Text (101): Rosario 20, Fonacier 18, Seigle 17, Castro 15, Tautuaa 11, Carey 6, Rosser 6, Reyes R. 6, Williams 2, Aban 0, Miranda 0, Reyes J. 0.
Quarter scores: 21-26, 44-49, 70-77, 107-101 – Rappler.com