NorthPort made history and outlasted NLEX in triple overtime, 126-123, to complete the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal picture Wednesday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Sean Anthony buried the go-ahead lay-up with 12.4 seconds to go before Christian Standhardinger sank his foul shots with 1.8 ticks left to play to completely blow the Road Warriors’ twice-to-beat edge.
With this, NorthPort has become the only fourth number eight team in league history to upset the number one seed in the quarterfinals, joining Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel, and Powerade.
“The desire, the hunger, the composure, the commitment, talagang andun sa players. They really want to win. Blessing sa akin sila. Everybody’s helping,” said a proud coach Pido Jarencio.
Standhardinger top-scored NorthPort with 33 points, along with 23 rebounds and seven assists as he played 61:02 minutes to own the record for most minutes played among locals.
The Fil-German bruiser has eclipsed the 61 of Kerby Raymundo, who set the previous record back in 2006. The all-time league record is 63 held by imports Lambert Shell and Lew Massey.
“It feels amazing. I”m very happy but you don’t see it. I’m just so tired. I’m just like calm and happy. I’m so proud of my guys. We never stopped fighting,” expressed Standhardinger.
Anthony had 30 points and 11 rebounds as this is now his second time to be part of a historic upset — he was part of the Powerade team that took down B-Meg in the 2011 Philippine Cup quarters.
“Powerade was a great team. When you do something like that, we’re brothers … A big win, like a triple-overtime win like that, we’re gonna be brothers forever in this team,” Anthony said.
Michael Qualls did his part for the Batang Pier as well with 31 points, 21 rebounds, and five blocks.
Things appeared rough for NorthPort when it went down by 15 early and when it saw itself down by five points, 91-96, with 1:16 remaining in regulation following Manny Harris’ bucket.
But, it fought back by responding with an 8-3 run behind Qualls and Anthony to tie things up at 99 and force overtime.
And come the game’s final moments, anxiety-filled the Batang Pier side once more when Kiefer Ravena buried a tough lay-up to give the Road Warriors a 123-122 lead with 21 seconds left.
Anthony then came through with a lay-up of his own to give NorthPort the lead back. NLEX tried to regain the upper hand but Jericho Cruz’ three-pointer from the wing went airball.
Standhardinger then made his freebies to widen the Batang Pier’s lead to three. Ravena looked to tie the game again with a triple but just like Cruz’s attempt, his shot hit nothing but air.
“Congrats on a hell of a game with NLEX, that was one of the best games I’ve ever played in. Shout out to guys like Kiefer and Manny Harris and everyone who was making big plays,” said Anthony.
NorthPort now heads into the semis to face Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in a best-of-five affair.
Harris led the Road Warriors with 43 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, and four steals in nearly 55 minutes.
Kiefer Ravena produced 22 points on 6-of-20 shooting, six assists, and five rebounds, JR Quiñahan provided 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Kenneth Ighalo added 12 markers for NLEX.
The Road Warriors were without 6-foot-7 center Poy Erram and rookie wingman Paul Varilla as they served a one-game suspension for fighting Qualls late in their first meeting last Monday.
The one who took Erram’s spot was 46-year-old Asi Taulava, who played for 20 minutes and 19 seconds and contributed six points and nine rebounds but witnessed history repeat itself.
Taulava was part of the Mobiline squad that got booted out of the 1999 All-Filipino Cup quarterfinals by Ginebra, making them the first top seed to be eliminated by an eighth-seed.
“Let’s look at the positive things. We’ve got the young guys. Becomes a learning lesson. I’ve been through it. These tough times, it happens. It’s how you bounce back,” said Taulava.
NorthPort (126) — Standhardinger 33, Qualls 31, Anthony 30, Elorde 12, Taha 7, Ferrer 6, Lanete 4, Mercado 3.
NLEX (123) – Harris 43, Ravena 22, Quiñahan 13, Ighalo 12, Soyud 9, Paniamogan 8, Cruz 6, Taulava 6, Miranda 2, Fonacier 2, Alas 0.
Quarterscores: 24-27, 43-56, 70-74, 99-99, 108-108, 116-116, 126-123.