NLEX lived to fight another day, pulling off a thrilling 86-85 win over Barangay Ginebra in Game Three to extend their PBA Governors Cup semifinal series on Sunday night.
Import Cameron Clark intercepted an LA Tenorio pass in the backcout then completed an and 1 off a Justin Brownlee foul for an 86-83 lead with seven seconds to play before 13,272 fans at the MOA Arena - the league's biggest crowd in the pandemic.
NLEX stays alive
Without a timeout, the Kings failed to go for a game-tying three and settled for a two by Tenorio and NLEX merely let the split second tick away to cut Ginebra's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-five semifinal series.
Game 4 is set on Wednesday.
"As I told my players, all we wanted was to avoid the embarrassment of being swept in this series," said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao after the great escape. "But now that we're here, we'll try to extend the series."
Clark scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while scoring nine in the final quarter where the Road Warriors battled the defending champions mano-a-mano.
Before Clark came through with his heroics, Kevin Alas, Justin Chua, and Philip Paniamogan carried the fight for NLEX, with Alas hitting five straight points in the stretch and Chua scoring on a layup at exactly the final minute mark to give his side an 83-80 lead.
Brownlee then split his free throw and then nailed a jumper to tie the game for the last time, paving the way for the wild-and-wooly finish.
"Sabi ko idikit lang natin, dalhin natin sa endgame, give me a chance to coach in an endgame situation, maybe we can pull it off," said Guiao.
Brownlee led the Kings with 27 points and 12 rebounds, but was 2-of-7 from the foul line, while Christian Standhardinger added 16 points and 16 rebounds.
In all, Ginebra missed almost half of its free throws, going 13-of-27 from the foul line.
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.
Quarterscores: 16-19, 36-44, 59-62, 86-85.
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