by Jonas Terrado
NLEX drew big contributions from import Tony Mitchell and newly-acquired Jericho Cruz to beat Meralco, 100-91, for its first win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Mitchell had 32 points, 20 rebounds and four assists while Cruz added 16 points and six assists in his second game since being traded from TNT KaTropa more than a week ago to help the Road Warriors end a 0-6 start.
Bong Galanza was the other NLEX player in double figures with 13 points on three triples.
The Road Warriors led by a high of 23 points before preventing the Bolts from completing their comeback bid in the fourth.
Meralco got to within four, 91-87, on a dunk by import Gani Lawal with 5:23 left in the fourth but Mitchell eventually put NLEX ahead 98-90 on a three-point play.
Lawal finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds after missing last week’s loss due to a hamstring injury but the Bolts dropped to ninth place at 3-5.
Chris Newsome and Nico Salva added 14 points each for Meralco.
NLEX 100 – Mitchell 32, Cruz 16, Galanza 13, Paniamogan 8, Quinahan 7, Erram 7, Ighalo 6, Varilla 4, Lao 4, Tiongson 3, Paredes 0, Soyud 0.
Meralco 91 – Lawal 15, Newsome 14, Salva 14, Amer 13, Canaleta 10, Jackson 6, Pinto 6, Almazan 5, Caram 4, Faundo 2, Hodge 2, Hugnatan 0, Quinto 0.
Quarterscores: 27-25, 56-49, 85-70, 100-91