By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Former NBA shooting guard Jonathan Simmons wasted no time introducing himself in the PBA Governor’s Cup after lifting the NLEX Road Warriors to a 124-102 blowout win against the Blackwater Bossing last January 25, 2023.
The savvy scoring machine who made a name for himself during his stay with the San Antonio Spurs exploded for 32 big points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.
It was a fortunate turn of events for the Road Warriors who were already prepping an All-Filipino lineup due to Simmons’ uncertainty about staying with NLEX for the long run.
A day before their game against the Bossing, it was announced that Simmons failed to secure a release from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) due to a standing offer from one of the franchises.
However, Simmons’ camp reconfirmed his availability for NLEX and announced he will be playing with the Road Warriors against Blackwater.
Simmons sent the early exclamation point to Blackwater after playing all-around basketball, scoring garbage buckets while feeding his teammates who were always open especially Kevin Alas.
Alas also went berserk against Blackwater and finished the ball game with 31 points built from 64% shooting from the field, eight rebounds, four assists, with no turnovers.
The former Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team point guard fired 19 points alone in the final canto including an early dagger trey with five minutes remaining that extended their lead to double digits.
It was a tough first half for the Road Warriors after Blackwater opened the first two quarters with aggression, thanks to Shawn Glover’s dominance in the paint.
Glover posted impressive numbers after contributing 26 points, seven assists, and five rebounds backstopped by Ato Ular who chipped in 14 points.
Just when the Bossing started to gain their shooting rhythm in the third quarter, the duo of Simmons and Alas took matters into their own hands and stole Blackwater’s momentum away.
The Road Warriors will have the chance to clinch back-to-back wins when they square off with the NorthPort Batang Pier on January 28, 2023, to be held at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.