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Aaron Fuller savors winning debut as in-form NLEX runs over Columbian

Aaron Fuller savors winning debut as in-form NLEX runs over Columbian

AARON Fuller ably filled the shoes left by the injured Ola Ashaolu as he towed NLEX back to winning ways in the PBA Governors’ Cup with a 116-104 win over Columbian Dyip on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The returning Fuller finished with 35 points, 21 rebounds and seven assists as the Road Warriors improved to 3-1 (win-loss) in the absence of head coach Yeng Guiao and Asi Taulava, who are both with the Philippine team in the Asian Games.

With the Dyip hanging tough through three quarters, Fuller joined hands with Alex Mallari in an 11-0 run that allowed the Road Warriors to take a 102-89 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Dyip never recovered from there as JR Quinahan and Larry Fonacier hit three consecutive three pointers late to take the fight out of the still winless Columbian.

“We played really bad against Magnolia and we also knew that coming in, Columbian is no pushover,” said interim coach Jojo Lastimosa.

“We told the team that we need to earn this win tonight and for some reason we were able to defend in the second half. It was a great second half defensively and we were happy about that,” he added.

Fonacier also had played big for the Road Warriors as he finished with 17 points while Kenneth Ighalo chipped in 15. Quinahan and Bong Galanza also made their presence felt with 10 points apiece.

Akeem Wright paced the Dyip with 37 points and 17 boards while Jerramy King finished with 22 but that wasn’t enough as they dropped their third straight to start the season’s final conference.

The scores:

NLEX 116 – Fuller 35, Fonacier 17, Ighalo 15, Quinahan 10, Galanza 10, Tallo 7, Mallari 7, Marcelo 6, Miranda 3, Tiongson 3, Paniamogan 3.

Columbian 104 – Wright 37, King 22, Khobuntin 10, McCarthy 9, Gabriel 9, Lastimosa 7, Cahilig 6, Escoto 4, Ababou 0, Tubid 0, Camson 0, Cabrera 0, Celda 0.

Quarters: 33-34, 64-62, 91-87, 116-104