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HomeSportNLEX slips past Ginebra to clinch quarterfinals spot

NLEX slips past Ginebra to clinch quarterfinals spot

NLEX Road Warriors' Robert Bolick against Ginebra PBA Philippine Cup game

NLEX Road Warriors’ Robert Bolick against Ginebra defenders in their PBA Philippine Cup game. -PBA IMAGES

NLEX played with steely nerves in the crunch on Sunday night to escape Barangay Ginebra by the skin of its teeth, 76-72, and secure a best-of-three quarterfinals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup.

The Road Warriors leaned on top gun Robert Bolick in the early parts of the contest and then played with stingy defense in the dying moments at Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Malate, Manila.

“It’s nice to get a win again, especially at the expense of Ginebra. But we should’ve handled our last five minutes a lot better. Sometimes we made bad decisions and I thought we could’ve made better shots,” head coach Frankie Lim said.

READ: Encho Valdez proving he belongs big boost to NLEX cause

“But my guys didn’t give up. They held their own, especially in the last timeout—we locked them up, denied the passes and they made a turnover,” he went on.

NLEX had a 13-point cushion at one point of the duel but saw that edge reduced to just a point with 32 ticks remaining. The Road Warriors then made key stops behind Bolick, Baser Amer, and Tony Semerad who forced the Gin Kings’ Von Pessumal and Ralph Cu to a massive blunder that snuffed out the crowd darlings’ final chance at coming back.

The Road Warriors thus locked up on the No. 6 seed and will face Meralco, a side that dealt defending champion San Miguel its first loss in the conference, in a best-of-three duel that kicks off this Friday.

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Bolick topscored with 25 points and dished out eight assists. Rodge, a rookie, chipped in 11 as Robbie Herndon, Mike Miranda, and Tony Semerad at least eight each.

Christian Standhardinger had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Japeth Aguilar added 15 points, while Maverick Ahanmisi 14 more in the losing effort that denied Tim Cone and his powerhouse crew momentum heading into the quarterfinals.

Barangay Ginebra is the tournament’s No. 2 seed and will battle sister team and seventh-ranked Magnolia, the former set to enjoy a win-once perk when the short series gets going on Saturday.

Terrafirma and NorthPort will dispute the last playoff berth in a game that will be played at the same venue this coming Wednesday.

PBA Scores:

NLEX 76 – Bolick 25, Rodger 11, Herndon 9, Miranda 8, Semerad 8, Amer 7, Anthony 4, Marcelo 4, Fajardo 0, Valdez 0, Taha 0

GINEBRA 72 –Standhardinger 19, J.Aguilar 15, Ahanmisi 14, Pringle 7, Cu 5, Thompson 4, Tenorio 2, Pessumal 2, Onwubere 2, David 0, Pinto 0, Murrell 0

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Quarterscores: 23-16, 35-32, 59-54, 76-72.

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