By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

HUMMING teams NLEX Road Warriors and Columbian Dyip go on a collision in Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup action today at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Set for 4:30 p.m., NLEX (4-1) and Columbian (3-2) are coming off victories in their last assignments and look to continue winning and fortify their spots in the top half of the standings midway into the elimination round of the season-ending PBA tournament.

The Road Warriors defeated the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings, 113-111, in overtime in their last game on Oct. 5 in Dubai that saw them coming from behind to book the victory that swung them back to winning after dropping their previous game.

Down by as much 28 points at one point in the contest against the Kings, NLEX showed a lot of grit and determination to claw their way back, even playing sans import Olu Ashaolu in overtime after fouling out in regulation.

Mr. Ashaolu led five players in double-digit scoring for the Road Warriors in the win, finishing with 25 points to go along with seven rebounds and two steals.

Poy Erram had 21 points with Philip Paniamogan and Jericho Cruz adding 20 and 13 points, respectively.

Comebacking Kiefer Ravena had a solid game facilitating for his team, finishing with 17 assists in addition to scoring 13 points.

“We got lucky. But you get lucky when you work hard, when you don’t give up” said a beaming NLEX coach Yeng Guiao after their hard-earned win.

“From the first half I think we were behind by 28 points, then losing our import before overtime? It’s one of those games you’ll remember for a long time,” added Mr. Guiao, whose team had it rough in the first two conferences of the ongoing PBA season, chalking up a combined win total of just seven victories and failing to progress to the playoffs each time.

The Road Warriors though would be parading a new import today in Manny Harris as they had decided to replace Mr. Ashaolu despite giving them a good start.

NLEX officials said replacing Mr. Ashaolu was a tough decision to make but something they had to make to get a talent like Mr. Harris, who the team was angling for to get for a while now.

Mr. Harris played in the National Basketball Association with stops in Cleveland, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas and paraded his wares in different parts of the world like Greece, Turkey and Ukraine.

Columbian, for its part, is playing with more bounce this conference on the lead of workhorse import Khapri Alston and guard CJ Perez and RaShawn McCarthy.

The Dyip are coming off a 102-90 victory over the Blackwater Elite on Oct. 11 that saw them very steady throughout.

Mr. McCarthy top-scored for Columbian with 25 points on 53% shooting, boosted by seven three-pointers made.

Messrs. Alston and Perez each had a double-double effort with the former tallying 24 points and 20 rebounds while the latter finished with 24 points and 10 boards.

Guard Reden Celda added 12 points in the Dyip’s victory.

“Our defense was good in this game (against Blackwater). In our two losses we did not do well on defense. That’s the key for us. Our offense is not a problem because everybody can shoot. If we can play defense we have good chances of winning,” said Columbian coach John Cardel.

Meanwhile, playing in the main game at 7 p.m. are the defending champions Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok (3-2) against Blackwater (1-3).

Both teams coming off losses in their previous games.