|Raul Soyud is all alone for the layup. PBA Images|
MANILA--NLEX sealed the sixth seed in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals after clipping NorthPort, 109-95, in the penultimate game of the elimination round on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Aware that a loss could still bring them down to a twice-to-beat disadvantage in the next round, the Road Warriors pounced on the also-ran Batang Pier from the get-go, opening a 28-16 lead in the first quarter and even stretched their lead to as high as 27, 103-76, with 5:47 left in the fourth quarter before letting them finish the game strong.
Raul Soyud made 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting, six rebounds, and one assist for NLEX, which will either face Magnolia or Ginebra in the best-of-three quarterfinals depending on Magnolia's performance against Blackwater later Friday.
The outcome actually shut the door on the Bossing's hopes of escaping from the once-to-beat disadvantage in the quarterfinals and can only go as high as the seventh seed if they beat the Hotshots.
Calvin Oftana added 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and one steal off the bench.
JM Calma made 21 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals for NorthPort, which finished the conference at 3-8.
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