The NLEX Road Warriors again squandered a big lead, this time to the Alaska Aces, but recovered for a 116-110 overtime victory Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
NLEX blew a 14-point fourth quarter lead and lost the previous game against Meralco.
NLEX improves to 5-5 in the PBA Governors' Cup standings. NLEX can clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the final game.
"We knew it was a must-win. We focused on defense and getting rebounds. We knew it was not going to be easy but we came together as a team," Aaron Fuller said. "We were able to close out. I'm glad we came through."
The loss drops the Aces to third place at 7-3. Alaska can lock up a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals with a win against NorthPort in its last game.
Fuller was the Best Player of the Game with a monster stat line of 42 points and 21 rebounds, going 18-of-26 from the field.
While Fuller may have put up the gaudy stat line, veteran JR Quinahan closed out the game by scoring 10 of his 15 points in overtime.
NLEX also got key contributions from Philip Paniamogan and Mike Miranda who scored 10 points apiece.
Alaska led 98-97 with 16.6 seconds remaining in regulation but the Aces committed a crucial mistake as Chris Banchero could not inbound the ball in time, resulting in a five-second violation. NLEX gave the ball right back in the next possession. JR Quinahan was well defended by Vic Manuel on the baseline and his kick-out pass meant for Larry Fonacier was stolen by Ping Exciminiano.
The tough pill to swallow for the Road Warriors was that they still had a full and a 30-second timeout remaining, which they could have used to reset their play.
Manuel was fouled on the other side but he only managed a split from the line. Fuller took it strong to the hoop and scored on two defenders to force a deadlock at 99-99. With the Aces not having a timeout, Exciminiano was forced to take the final shot but his three-point attempt failed to hit the rim.
NLEX 116 - Fuller 42, Quinahan 15, Galanza 8, Ighalo 8, Tallo 7, Baguio 7, Tiongson 3, Soyud 2, Fonacier 2, Taulava 0.
Alaska 110 - Harris 35, Manuel 22, Casio 16, Enciso 10, Banchero 9, Teng 6, Racal 6, Baclao 4, Thoss 2, Exciminiano 0, Pascual 0.
Quarters: 19-20, 53-43, 77-77, 99-99, 116-110.
Mike Miranda returned to action for NLEX after missing a game due to suspension. He was thrown out with a flagrant foul penalty 2 against Eugene Phelps, forcing him to sit out their game against Meralco.
After notching his career high of 28 points in their last game, Alaska's Chris Banchero was limited to only 9 points by NLEX.
Alaska -- October 28 vs. NorthPort Batang Pier at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
NLEX -- November 3 vs. Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.