MANILA – NorthPort Batang Pier and NLEX Road Warriors showed their eagerness to reach the semifinals, stretching the do-or-die 2019 PBA Governor’s Cup quarterfinals to three overtimes before the former eked a thrilling escape.
Sean Anthony drained the go-ahead shot while Christian Standhardinger converted two free throws and the No. 8 seed Batang Pier stunned the No. 1 ranked Road Warriors, 126-123, last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Batang Pier just became the fourth No. 8 seed team to do the trick after Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in 1999, San Miguel Beermen in 2002 and Powerade Tigers in 2012.
The Road Warriors dictated the tempo of the match and were on top by 10 points in the fourth period but the Batang Pier rallied back behind Michael Qualls, Standhardinger and Anthony for a 99-all score.
In the first overtime, Batang Pier went ahead 107-103 on five straight points by Anthony but a three-point play by Road Warriors’ Manny Harris and two free throws by Jericho Cruz sent the game to a second OT.
In the second extension, the game was tied at 113-all but NorthPort got the upperhand at 116-113 on a wide open triple by Kevin Ferrer. However, a triple by NLEX’s Philip Paniamogan pushed the game to a third extension.
In the 3rd OT, the Road Warriors were ahead by one at 123-122 on back-to-back layups by Kiefer Ravena. But a basket by Anthony and two freebies by Standhardinger clinched the win for the Batang Pier.
Standhardinger finished the match with 33 points and 23 rebounds. Qualls added 31 markers and 21 boards as Anthony contributed 30 and 11 as the Batang Pier reached the semifinals for the second time in franchise history.
Harris finished with 43 points and 16 rebounds as Ravena contributed 22 markers but fumbled several times in the endgame. The Road Warriors bowed out of contention./PN