MANILA – NLEX ruled the PBA Draft Combine mini-tournament after edging Phoenix in the finals, 78-71, at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong on Wednesday night.
Bolstered by four players from current Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) leaders Pampanga Giant Lanterns, NLEX leaned on each other’s familiarity as the team rallied back in the second half to edge Phoenix.
"Matagal na kaming magkakasama nina (Jayson) Apolonio, (Raymond) Binuya, at MJ Garcia. Ang laking tulong na magkakasama kami sa (We have been together with Apolonio, Binuya, and Garcia for a long time. It was a great help that we were grouped together here in the) draft combine," said MPBL All-Star Archie Concepcion, who was named the draft combine MVP for his consistent brilliance.
Concepcion finished with 14 points to backstop Binuya, who had 21 to lead NLEX.
Cliff Jopia, Rodney Fuentes, Enrique Caunan, Regie Basibas, Jonathan del Rosario, and Bryan Santos completed the lineup.
NLEX took home PHP50,000, while Concepcion won for himself PHP10,000 for being the MVP and part of the Mythical Five.
Apolonio, Warren Bonifacio, Adrian Nocum, and Ralph Cu completed the Mythical Five, and they each won PHP5,000.
Brandray Bienes and JC Cullar each tallied 13 markers to lead Phoenix, which won PHP25,000 for being the runner-up.
The mini-tournament was set for the coaches and scouts to check out the players' coachability and capability to work through in-game situations ahead of Sunday's draft. (PNA)