PBA: NLEX handily beats NorthPort to secure No. 6 seed
MANILA, Philippine–NLEX expectedly made light work of a severely undermanned NorthPort on Friday, pulling out a 109-95 victory while manufacturing enough boost going into the next round of the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup.
The Road Warriors turned in a balanced attack to annex a second-straight victory and wrap their elimination phase at 6-5 which had the club locking their place at least of a No. 6 finish in the playoffs.
Coach Yeng Guiao said the game also allowed them to iron out the team’s kinks that could spell doom in the quarterfinals.
“We made sure that we had intensity and aggressiveness on defense,” he said in the post game presser at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “We have this tendency to relax especially whenever we have big leads. That has been a problem in our past games.”
“This (win) also assures us at sixth place finish that will keep us from going seventh or eighth. It would be difficult to be in those positions because of the twice-to-win disadvantage. Then you’ll also have to play the top two teams. So that’s what we’re also trying to avoid.”
Raul Soyud had 19 points, Calvin Oftana 18 while Don Trollano 16. Philip Paniamogan and Tony Semerad each chipped in 15 as the Road Warriors brace for either Barangay Ginebra or Magnolia in the best-of-three series which begin this Sunday.
JM Calma had 21 points, Kevin Ferrer 16 more for NorthPort which was missing Robert Bolick and Jamie Malonzo due to health and safety protocols.
The Batang Pier, one of the hottest clubs early into the centerpiece tournament, ended their elimination round with a 3-8 record.
NLEX 109 – Soyud 19, Oftana 18, Trollano 16, Paniamogan 15, Semerad 15, Chua 9, Miranda 8, Fonacier 4, Varilla 3, Nieto 2, Ighalo 0.
NorthPort – Calma 21, Ferrer 16, Sumang 12, Ayaay 11, Vigil 10, Balanza 8, Dela Cruz 7, Santos 4, Subido 3, Javier 3.
Quarters: 28-16, 57-39, 83-66, 109-95.