The Road Warriors led by as many as 20 points then survived a rough-and-tumble windup to end the mid-season tournament with a 3-8 win-loss card while leaving the Fuel Masters (4-7) in danger of missing the quarterfinals.
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NLEX adds to Phoenix’s woes
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - July 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — NLEX exited the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on a bright note, outlasting Phoenix Pulse in an 87-85 cliffhanger of a final match that saw the ejection of coach Yeng Guiao last night at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Road Warriors led by as many as 20 points then survived a rough-and-tumble windup to end the mid-season tournament with a 3-8 win-loss card while leaving the Fuel Masters (4-7) in danger of missing the quarterfinals.

“Good thing we won our last game, at least we can bring something positive going into the next conference,” said Guiao, who was tossed out with 42.9 seconds left following successive technical fouls as he complained against what he perceived as bad calls.

“We survived a badly-officiated game. I don’t think the officiating was up to par with the efforts both teams put into this game,” the outspoken mentor said.

The Road Warriors took command as early as the first quarter, where an 11-2 windup gave them a 10-point cushion. Guiao’s charges were still comfortably ahead, 82-71, going to the last 2:06 before the backs-against-the-wall Fuel Masters made a final run for it and closed in at 85-86 with still eight seconds to go.

Later, Robert Bolick hit the marginal layup with four seconds left as NorthPort edged Meralco, 93-92, to cap the elims with 9-2 and get a shot at No.1 seed in the quarters. 

The Sean Anthony-less Batang Pier will go into the playoffs with a twice to beat advantage for the first time and can even seize the top position if TNT (9-1) losses its last game.

Notes: Gilas will get a helping hand from the Australians in their World Cup buildup. The Adelaide 36ers are set to come over for a pair of tune-up matches (Aug. 23 and Aug. 25), giving the Filipino cagers an opportunity to gauge their game shape and readiness before they leave for the Aug. 31-Sept. 15 world meet in China. Before the matches with the 36ers, Gilas is to fly to Spain for a pocket tournament against the hosts, Ivory Coast and Congo from Aug. 4-11.

The scores: 

First Game

NLEX 87 – Ashaolu 17, Ighalo 14, Quinahan 9, Paniamogan 9, Erram 7, Cruz 6, Lao 5, Tiongson 5, Fonacier 5, Taulava 4, Soyud 4, Varilla 2, Baguio 0, Galanza 0.

Phoenix 85 – Jazul 20, Wright 16, Mallari 13, Howell 11, Intal 6, Marcelo 6, Perkins 2, Napoles 0, Wilson 0, Guevarra 0, Gamboa 0.

Quarterscores: 21-11, 45-32, 65-54, 87-85

Second Game

NorthPort 93 – Bolick 18, Ibeh 15, Mercado 12, Elorde 10, Ferrer 9, Lanete 9, Tautuaa 6, Cruz 5, Flores 5, Taha 4, Araña 0, Gabayni 0. 

Meralco 92 – Newsome 21, James 17, Amer 16, Hodge 13, De Ocampo 10, Faundo 4, Almazan 4, Quinto 4, Tolomia 2, Hugnatan 1, Salva 0, Pinto 0, Canaleta 0, Jackson 0.

Quarterscores: 22-28, 45-43, 62-67, 93-92

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