MANILA – Jericho Cruz drained a go-ahead basket and the NLEX Road Warriors completed its fight back from 26 points down to beat Magnolia Hotshots, 86-85, in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup last night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Cruz drained a fall away basket from a missed free throw by teammate and fellow Ilonggo Kiefer Ravena to surge the Road Warriors on top with a second left to complete its come-from-behind triumph.
Manny Harris flirted with triple-double with 22 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, while JR Quinahan and Cruz chipped in 14 and 13 markers, respectively.
With the win, the Road Warriors surged to solo first place with 8-1 record.
The Road Warriors had a flat start and down by as much as 26 points before starting their climb in the third period on inside hits by Harris and triples by Ravena and Cruz to cut the deficit to 71-57 heading into the final period.
NLEX pulled even closer in the fourth quarter behind Harris, Ravena and Cruz to seize a 79-76 lead. Magnolia made its last run to regain an 85-83 edge on five straight points by Paul Lee.
As the defending champions Hotshots dropped to 5-5, Lee finished the match with 24 points, while Ian Sangalang and Romeo Travis chipped in 19 and 13 markers, respectively.
In the first game, Ilonggo Antonio Jose Caram came up with a career game as the Meralco Bolts pulled off a 103-89 victory over NorthPort Batang Pier for solo second place in the standings at 8-2.
Holding to a slim 72-69 heading into the fourth period, the Bolts leaned on shots from Caram to take a 78-69 edge but the Batang Pier countered with a rally to cut the deficit to 80-84.
Caram, however, was there to the rescue anew. He ignited Bolts’ finishing run with three-point baskets before Allen Durham capped it off with inside hits for its biggest lead at 103-88.
The Iloilo City-native Caram finished the match with career-high 30 points, including four outside conversions, while Durham chipped in double-double 26 points and 19 rebounds for the Bolts./PN