Canaleta nets 37 points as Air21 nabs playoffs spot

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Nino Canaleta . FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Nino Canaleta scored 37 points as Air21 beat Petron Blaze, 95-91, in overtime Saturday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Canaleta, who had 23 points in the first half, completed a three-point play that put the Express ahead, 92-89, with 1:24 left in overtime.

“Big win for us, at least we were able to survive. We won’t end up doing a playoff with Barako Bull,” said Air21 head coach Franz Pumaren.

“That’s one thing I love about Nino, he’s not a bashful player. Every practice he makes sure he does extra shooting. I’m proud with the way he’s playing.”

The former University of the East star went nine-of-18 from three-point range and grabbed nine rebounds to help the Express nail a quarterfinals slot.

The Boosters, who squandered a 17-point lead early in the second quarter, dropped to 7-6.

Canaleta fell just four points shy of matching his career-high 41 points he set during the Express’ 113-92 rout of GlobalPort in the Philippine Cup this season.

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