EARL Clark exploded for 40 points as NLEX Road Warriors rallied to bring down Meralco Bolts, 92-81, in their survival game in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
With Clark hitting his strides, the Road Warriors came charging back from an 18-point deficit in the start of the second half, 39-57, to escape with the all-important victory over the Bolts.
Clark went 13-of-22 from the floor and added 11 rebounds in 43 minutes of action for NLEX, which closed out its elimination round schedule at 5-7.
Don Trollano finished with 16 points on 4-of-6 fom the rainbow area, while Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser added 10 points for the Road Warriors of coach Frankie Lim.
KJ McDaniels finished with 22 points on 11-of-31 shooting on top of nine rebounds and four blocks in 43 minutes on the floor.
Aaron Black and Allein Maliksi contributed with 17 and 12 points, respectively.
McDaniels’ two-pointer put Meralco ahead by three points with 6:30 remaining.
But Clark answered back with a three-pointer to tie the score at 77-all with 6:06 remaining.
Paul Varilla converted the and-1 to give NLEX an 80-77 advantage with 5:26 left.
Then Michael Miranda nailed a three-pointer and Clark added a floater to give NLEX an eight-point cushion.
Overall, NLEX outscored Meralco, 53-24, in the final two quarters.
NLEX now awaits the result of the game between Rain or Shine and Magnolia.
Lim said he and his charges will cross the bridge once they get there.
“Before the game, sinasabi ko sa kanila na I just want to think about this game and not the things that will happen tomorrow.
We just have to win this game and we did,” said Lim.
NLEX (92) — Clark 40, Trollano 16, Ganuelas-Rosser 10, Chua 6, Alas 6, Rosales 6, Varilla 5, Miranda 3, Nieto 0.
Meralco (81) — McDaniels 22, Black 17, Maliksi 12, Quinto 8, Hodge 8, Banchero 7, Caram 5, Jose 2, Pascual 0.
Quarterscores: 23-30, 39-57, 64-71, 92-81.
3 p.m. — San Miguel vs. Meralco
5:45 p.m. — Rain or Shine vs. Magnolia