Cruz hits game-winner as NLEX nips Magnolia from 26 points down
ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – NLEX completed a stunning 86-85 escape over Magnolia behind a Jericho Cruz game-winner in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup at the Ynares Center on Sunday, November 10.
Cruz drained a follow-up basket off a missed Kiefer Ravena free throw with a second left as the Road Warriors stormed back from a 26-point hole to raise their record to 8-1 and notch the twice-to-beat playoff bonus.
Ravena muffed what could have been the game-tying foul shot, but fortunately, Cruz was there to clean up his mess with the go-ahead bucket over the outstretched arms of Hotshots import Romeo Travis.
Paul Lee, who scored the last 5 points for Magnolia including the layup that gave them an 86-84 lead with 12 seconds left, could not snatch the win as his triple from way beyond the arc hit only the front of the rim.
Import Manny Harris finished with 24 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds for the Road Warriors, who outscored the Hotshots 29-14 in the final quarter en route to their fifth consecutive victory.
Harris poured out 12 in those 29 fourth-quarter points, drilling in a three-pointer with 30 seconds left to answer a Lee trey and knot the score at 83-all.
It was the second time in the season-ending conference NLEX won despite being down by at least 25 points after fighting back from a 28-point deficit in a 113-111 overtime win over Barangay Ginebra in Dubai in October.
Quinahan chalked up 14 points and 8 rebounds for the Road Warriors, who tightened their grip on the No. 1 spot, Cruz had 13 points and 5 rebounds, while Ravena added 7 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals.
Lee caught fire with 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, but Magnolia – which was comfortably ahead 47-21 in the first half – just fizzled out in the last two quarters as it dropped to 5-5 in the team standings.
Sangalang put up 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Travis pumped in 13 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks in the heart-wrenching loss.
NLEX 86 - Harris 22, Quinahan 14, Cruz 13, Erram 7, Ravena 7, Galanza 6, Paniamogan 5, Miranda 4, Soyud 4, Ighalo 4, Fonacier 0, Baguio 0,
Magnolia 85 - Lee 24, Sangalang 19, Travis 13, Barroca 10, Banchero 7, Pingris 5, Melton 4, Abundo 3, Reavis 0, Dela Rosa 0.
Quarters: 16-39, 29-51, 57-71, 86-85