NorthPort outlasts NLEX in triple-OT grind, enters semis
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Eighth-seeded NorthPort made top seed NLEX run into a dead end, completing a two-game quarterfinals reversal en route to the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals.

Buoyed by their 25-point blowout in the first game, the Batang Pier played a gutsy performance after the halftime break to steal a 126-123 triple-overtime thriller and beat NLEX out for Last-4 dance with No. 4 Barangay Ginebra.

Sean Anthony and Christian Standhardinger delivered the knockout blows as NorthPort continued its late run, winning its fourth do-or-die dating back to the end of elims to advance.

Anthony hit the go-ahead layup in a 30-11 performance and Standhardinger sealed it with two freebies in a 61-minute 33-23-7 effort to lead Pido Jarencio’s wards to the semis,

The Road Warriors, who played with the suspended Poy Erram and Paul Varilla, became the fourth No. 1 seed to fall to the No. 8.

NLEX took a 96-91 lead going to the last 1:19 of regulation but Michael Qualls came to the Batang Pier’s rescue and dropped six points in an 8-3 windup, including the equalizing freebies with 7.4 ticks left.

It was NorthPort’s turn to seize a four-point cushion in the first extra time but NLEX fought back with a 5-1 blast capped by Jericho Cruz’ charities to extend it further.

The Batang Pier enjoyed a 116-113 tear in OT on a Kevin Ferrer trey but the Road Warriors cancelled it out with a triple by Philip Paniamogan to force another five minutes.

Meanwhile, Blackwater tapped former TNT coach Nash Racela as the Elite’s new tactician, taking the place of Aries Dimaunahan who reverted to his old position as first assistant.

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