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NLEX nearly shuts ROS down in OT, secures comeback win

KJ McDaniels sizzled late for the Road Warriors. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—NLEX formally booked a place in the PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinals after rallying to beat Rain Or Shine in overtime, 109-100, on Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Despite missing out on completing a comeback from 22 points down in regulation, the Road Warriors finished the job in the extension period by almost stifling the Elasto Painters in the extra five minutes.

Looking to end a slump that put the team in danger of possibly missing the quarterfinals, ROS raced to a 54-32 lead with 2:44 left in the first half.

But NLEX surged in the third quarter, outscoring ROS, 32-17, to trim the gap to just two, 72-70, heading to the fourth.

A three-point play from Jericho Cruz to start the fourth quarter put the Road Warriors on top, 73-72, but after some seesaw affair, the Elasto Painters regained control and opened a 97-92 lead with 38 seconds left in regulation.

JR QuiƱahan kept NLEX in the game with a quick triple with 29 seconds to play in overtime, while Rey Nambatac dished a bad pass to Javee Mocon that led to an ROS turnover with nine seconds left.

KJ McDaniels made the E-Painters pay for the costly error as he scored on a hook shot that tied the game at 97-all with 4.4 seconds left in regulation.

Nambatac's floater rimmed out as time expired.

In the OT session, the Road Warriors scored the first eight points as the E-Painters could not buy a basket in the first three and a half minutes of the period.

Nambatac finally broke the ice for ROS with a three-point play, but that was the only points the team scored the entire overtime.

McDaniel finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and three blocks for NLEX, which moved up to 7-3, a half-game behind Meralco and Magnolia for the top spot.

The Road Warriors will finish their elimination round assignment against Barangay Ginebra next Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City with a chance at clinching a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round.

Kevin Alas added 15 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and one block.

Henry Walker put up 28 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists for ROS, but he was missed for most of the overtime period after fouling out.

Nambatac added 27 points, four rebounds, three assists, and one steal as ROS fell to 3-6.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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