Poy Erram, Philip Paniamogan and Marion Magat saved NLEX from a potential disaster as it foiled Columbian’s comeback bid from 31 points down to pick up a 107-97 victory that ended a 0-3 start in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Erram, Paniamogan and Magat accounted for 17 of the Road Warriors’ 22 points in the fourth, making crucial baskets after the Dyip got to within five twice in the same period to finally barge into the win column.
NLEX won after firing seven threes in the first quarter and despite missing all eight attempts from downtown in the third that opened the door for Columbian to chip away a 65-34 deficit.
“It’s really hard to put away a team like Columbian,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao. “They’re relentless and they’s going to be a force to contend with. We’re glad na nakaraos kami sa kanila.”
Erram finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, Paniamogan hit two crucial threes in the fourth on his way to 11 points and Magat added 14 points and 13 rebounds in his best game since he was taken from Alaska via free agency.
Kenneth Ighalo added 19 points and Kevin Alas broke a 2-of-21 slump to start the season by producing 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Guiao said that his team continues to deal with adjustments, namely Erram’s arrival from Blackwater in an offseason trade and Alas’ finding his groove following an ACL injury sustained last season.
Top overall pick CJ Perez posted 16 points and 11 rebounds but the Dyip fell to 2-2 after completing a difficult stretch of three consecutive playdates.
Behind Erram’s hot shooting, NLEX scored 39 points to lead Columbian by 23 in the first.
NLEX went on to make 12 by halftime when it led 68-42, until Perez, Rashawn McCarthy and veteran center Jay-R Reyes combined to narrow the gap to 85-78 going into the fourth.
A basket by Perez with over eight minutes left in the fourth put the Dyip behind, 91-86, before Erram, Paniamogan and Magat joined forces to preserve the Road Warriors’ victory. (Jonas Terrado)
NLEX 107 – Erram 23, Ighalo 19, Magat 14, Alas 13, Paniamogan 11, Galanza 9, Taulava 6, Tallo 5, Porter 4, Tiongson 3, Soyud 0, Baguio 0, Fonacier 0.
Columbian 97 – Reyes 17, Perez 16, McCarthy 16, Celda 14, Escoto 10, Cahilig 8, Calvo 7, Faundo 5, Cabrera 2, Agovida 2, Corpuz 0, Camson 0, Khobuntin 0, Tabi 0.
Quarters: 39-16, 68-42, 85-78, 107-97.