NLEX Road Warriors 81 – Barangay Ginebra 78
The NLEX Road Warriors used a big second half run to overcome a double-digit deficit and win a close game against Barangay Ginebra.
Coming off their momentum-boosting win over the formerly undefeated San Miguel Beermen, Ginebra looked to continue their winning streak. Greg Slaughter returned and gave his team a much-needed scoring punch inside. Ginebra slowly took control of the game in the second quarter behind the inside dominance of Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar. The two teamed up to score all the points in a 14-7 run to end the second quarter. Ginebra took an eight-point lead heading into the half. That lead would grow to as high as 14 points to start the second half.
NLEX countered Ginebra’s inside presence with outside shooting. The bench mob sparked a 15-3 run to end the third quarter and tow the Road Warriors back into the game. Alex Mallari and JR Quinahan were hitting their jumpers as NLEX entered the fourth period down by only four points.
In the fourth quarter, Larry Fonacier and Cyrus Baguio took over the scoring duties. Baguio scored 11 of his 13 points in the final period to keep the Road Warriors in striking distance. Then Fonacier took over to give NLEX their first lead since early in the first quarter. He scored on a layup inside and hit big three-pointer to give the Road Warriors a 75-73 lead.
Ginebra pulled ahead by two points but Quinahan scored back-to-back jumpers to give NLEX a two-point lead with less than two minutes left in the game. GInebra had a chance to tie the game but Slaughter split his free throws as Fonacier and Ravena buried big freebies in the end game to seal the win.