NLEX capitalized on NorthPort’s failure of sealing the deal in regulation and pulled off an escape act with a 120-115 overtime victory Friday, Dec. 10 for the early lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Import KJ McDaniels scored 11 of his 40 points in the extra five-minute period as the Road Warriors improved to 2-0 while handing the Batang Pier a stinging setback for the second straight time to begin the season-ending conference.
McDaniels’ three-point play with 1:55 left in the extension put NLEX up for good at 116-113 as NorthPort saw another comeback go to waste.
“We actually lost our composure for a while there,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao, referring to his team allowing NorthPort to charge back from a double-digit deficit to take the lead behind Arwind Santos.
Santos dropped 12 of his 20 points in the payoff period to help NorthPort go up 100-94 with less than three minutes left and victory looking imminent.
“NorthPort just played a really good stretch, maybe the latter part of the third and for most part of the fourth,” Guiao said.
“This is a talented team, they have the size, they have the talent and they’ve lost two close games which they could have won so they could have been easily 2-0 so we respect what this team can do.”
But NorthPort couldn’t close things out, especially when it led 102-99 entering the final minute of regulation.
Paolo Taha missed two foul shots while Santos turned the ball over before Cameron Forte fouled Kevin Alas, who was attempting a three with 1.2 seconds to go.
Alas, who finished with 21 points, calmly sank all three shots to make it 102-all as Robert Bolick missed a turnaround shot at the buzzer.
Rookie Calvin Oftana scored five of his 10 points in overtime to back up McDaniels.
Greg Slaughter made 22 points, Santos had 20 points, Forte tallied 17 points and 23 rebounds while Robert Bolick added 18 points, six rebounds and 14 assists but NorthPort fell to 0-2.
NLEX 120 — McDaniels 40, Alas 21, Miranda 13, Oftana 10, Trollano 8, Quiñahan 8, Magat 4, Cruz 4, Semerad 4, Varilla 3, Rosales 3, Paniamogan 2.
NORTHPORT 115 — Slaughter 22, Santos 20, Bolick 18, Forte 17, Malonzo 14, Taha 9, Ferrer 7, Balanza 7, Rike 1, Elorde 0, Grey 0.
Quarters: 30-19, 57-50, 84-75, 102-102 (Reg), 120-115 (OT).