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Thornton nets career-high 50 as NLEX beats Ginebra in OT

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Al Thornton dropped a PBA career-high 50 points as the NLEX Road Warriors overcame a huge deficit to stun Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in overtime, 114-112 Friday in the Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Thornton, who also delivered 50 points in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup, fired 10 points in extension for a clutch performance to lead the Road Warriors to a close win.

Both teams had chances to win the game in regulation but Thornton missed a jumper in the final moments of the fourth period while Mark Caguioa’s try with 1.4 seconds left also went off.

Kevin Alas added 21 points, also a career-high, on 7-for-12 shooting while Sean Anthony added 15 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.

Anthony opened overtime with a triple before Thornton took over by hitting jumper after jumper as NLEX took a 110-103 lead.

Sol Mercado then nailed back to back threes under the final minute, pulling Ginebra closer at 112-109, before Jonas Villanueva split his charities to make it 113-109.

Othyus Jeffers missed a trey with 6.2 seconds left, leading to another foul shot for NLEX as the Road Warriors escaped with a win.

Ginebra held a double-digit advantage in the first half behind a huge second quarter which saw the team outscore NLEX 29-20.

NLEX however, went on a 16-0 run in the third quarter which transformed a 57-69 deficit into a 73-69 lead. From there it was back and forth with the Road Warriors surviving in the end.

Jeffers carried Ginebra with 31 points and 20 boards. Joe Devance chipped in 18 points and five assists while Mercado contributed 15 points and eight assists.

The NLEX Road Warriors (1-0) next face the debuting Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters on Wednesday, February 17 at 5:15pm in the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (0-1) will have the Globalport Batang Pier (0-1) next on Sunday, February 14 at 5:15pm in the same venue.

The Scores

NLEX (114) – Thornton 50, Alas 21, Anthony 15, J. Villanueva 12, Enciso 6, Lanete 3, Taulava 3, Khobuntin 2, E. Villanueva 2.

Ginebra (112) – Jeffers 31, Devance 18, Mercado 15, Caguioa 10, Tenorio 9, Aguilar 9, Marcelo 8, Ellis 5, Thompson 5, Helterbrand 2.

Quarterscores: 21-22, 41-51, 73-73, 97-97, 114-112.

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