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Anthony waxes hot for 37, NLEX dims Rain or Shine’s semis bid



Rain or Shine’s planned return to the semi-finals will have to wait.

Sean Anthony dropped a career-high 37 points including the NLEX Road Warriors’ final 8 points in a clutch performance to lead his team to a 111-106 win Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

With the win, Road Warriors (5-6) denied the Elasto Painters an outright semi-finals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Anthony drained four triples and shot 13-for-20 overall while adding 6 rebounds and 5 assists in the momentous win.

The Elasto Painters started to create distance in the second quarter as they turned a slim 44-42 margin into a 53-44 lead after a Jericho Cruz three.

The Road Warriors trailed by as many as 13 in the third quarter but a four-point play by Garvo Lanete helped cut the deficit down to only 88-83 entering the final frame.

Later, Anthony scored five straight points including a triple to knot the count at 92-all with over 8 minutes left.

Teams went back and forth before an and-one play by Mac Cardona again tied the score at 100 apiece under the final 5 minutes.

Beau Belga gave Rain or Shine more breathing room with four straight points, before an Anthony put back gave NLEX a 105-104 edge.

Free throws by Jewel Ponferrada tied the count at 106-all although Ponferrada turned the ball over in the next possession, giving the Road Warriors a chance with 30.3 seconds left.

Anthony scored off a drive to push NLEX ahead, 108-106 with 21.7 seconds left. Coming off a timeout, Cardona then snatched the ball off Jeff Chan’s hands which led to a three-point play by Anthony with 5.3 seconds left to complete the comeback.

Asi Taulava chipped in 15 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists while Cardona came off the bench to provide 11 points and four assists.

Rain or Shine dropped to third spot with an 8-3 record in the elimination round. The team will still have a twice-to-beat edge against the 10th seed.

Belga led the Elasto Painters with 18 points and 7 rebounds although fouled out with over two minutes left. Four others scored in twin-digits for Rain or Shine.

With the loss, Alaska and San Miguel qualify outright for the semi-finals as both finished with 9-2 cards. The Aces and Beermen shall enjoy a break as they won’t be seeing action until January 4.

The Scores:
NLEX (111)
– Anthony 37, Taulava 15, Villanueva J. 14, Cardona 11, Alas 9, Lanete 7, Villanueva E. 6, Enciso 6, Reyes 6, Khobuntin 0, Borboran 0.
Rain or Shine (106) – Belga 18, Chan 15, Ponferrada 13, Tiu 11, Almazan 10, Nimes 9, Cruz 9, Quinahan 6, Norwood 5, Ahanmisi 5, Teng 3, Matias 2, Trollano 0.
Quarterscores: 33-32, 56-61, 83-88, 111-106.