Filipino team NLEX-SCTEX Tollways finally managed to break into the win column at the 2017 Merlion Cup with a nip-and-tuck victory over club team Yulon Luxgen Dinos from Chinese-Taipei.

The NLEX-SCTEX defense was successful in holding Yulon to just eight points in the opening quarter and the Taiwanese team still trailed by double-digits at the half as they were only able to keep up with the scoring in the second.

Perkins opened the third quarter with back-to-back baskets to extend NLEX-SCTEX’s lead to 15, but the Dinos slowly mounted a comeback and trailed by only three, 48-45 at the 3-minute mark after Lu Chieh-minh hit a three.

NLEX’s Byron Villarias was able to string together five quick points to bring the lead back up to eight, but the resilient Dinos made another late rally and Tsui Kuo-tseng’s baseline layup cut the deficit to two points, closing the third quarter at 53-51.

Tollways big man Maurice Shaw opened up the scoring to begin the fourth quarter, but Yulon finally managed to tie the game 60-60 at the 8-minute mark via a two-handed dunk by Bryan Davis. They finally took a late four-point lead with another three by the hot-handed Lu Kuan-liang which was followed by another Davis basket after trailing by as much as 16 earlier in the game.

Both teams continued to exchange baskets and a Villarias dagger three with 40.4 seconds left to play gave NLEX-SCTEX a one-point lead. From that point on, the Filipino side didn’t allow the Dinos to score again, forcing the latter to play the foul-game.

Fil-Am forward Jason Perkins continued to pace the Filipino team with a double-double of 28 points and 13 rebounds, while his tournament scoring partner Byron Villarias added 21 markers of his own. Import Maurice Shaw chipped in with 10 points and eight boards.

Lu Kuan-liang was the only local in double figures with 21 for Yulon, while import Bryan Davis had a solid 17-point, 15-rebound outing.

NLEX-SCTEX will meet Satria Muda-Pertamina for the 5th place game tomorrow at OCBC Arena prior to the 3rd place match and the final. Yulon Luxgen fell to 7th place after going winless in the week-long tournament.

Quarter scores 19-8, 40-27, 53-51, 81-76