PBA: NLEX avoids sweep, escapes Ginebra in Game 3 thriller
MANILA, Philippines–Just wanting to save itself the embarrassment of getting swept, NLEX did all the right things on both ends late to pull out an 86-85 victory over defending champion Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals on Sunday night.
Knotted at 83-all, import Cameron Clark intercepted an LA Tenorio pass meant for Justin Brownlee, converting the tough layup and nailing the freebie that iced the final tally and kept the Road Warriors’ title aspirations alive.
“Actually, I just told my players that we just have to save ourselves the embarrassment of being swept,” said coach Yeng Guiao on the heels of the highwire escape at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“I said, maybe if we won, we could change the complexion of the series and have a chance at winning,” he went on. “And then they proved they could beat Ginebra.”
Clark finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds to lead all of NLEX while preserving the heroics of Philip Paniamogan in the final frame.
The undrafted guard scored all of his nine points in the third period, and then made a key steal at the 3:45 mark of the payoff period that led to an uncontested Kevin Alas layup that tied the game, 78-all.
Alas finished with 15, while Justin Chua and Raul Soyud chipped in 13 and 11, respectively to foil the Gin Kings’ bid to sweep in front of a pandemic-record 13,272 fans.
Ginebra got the goods from Justin Brownlee who had 27 points while Christian Standhardinger, Scottie Thompson, and LA Tenorio added double-digit scores.
NLEX will have a chance to level the series on Wednesday when the series moves to Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
NLEX 86 – Clark 21, Alas 15, Chua 13, Soyud 11, Paniamogan 9, Rosales 7, Miranda 4, Trollano 4, Semerad 2, Nieto 0
GINEBRA 85 – Brownlee 27, Standhardinger 16, Thompson 13, Tenorio 10, Tolentino 9, Devance 6, Caperal 2, Chan 2, Pinto 0,
QUARTERS: 16-19, 36-44, 59-62, 86-85