NorthPort failed to score a field goal in the final 2:45, but did just enough to salvage a 98-96 win over Ginebra in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With the win, the Batang Pier formalized their entry into the quarterfinals with a 5-6 win-loss record.
Rain or Shine, which won against Meralco earlier, was booted out of the playoff picture, according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon.
"A win is a win. It's a blessing to win. At least we're in the quarterfinals now. We're gonna be ready against the twice-to-beat opponent in the quarterfinals," said NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio in Filipino.
Christian Standhardinger scored on an awkward layup at the 2:46 mark to put the Batang Pier ahead, 97-92. Ginebra would score four more points after that, then Justin Brownlee and Japeth Aguilar muffed a jumper and a putback, respectively, in the dying seconds.
Paolo Taha grabbed the rebound and went to the line with 1.1 ticks remaining. He split his shots and intentionally missed the second, but Aguilar was there for the board, leading to a Ginebra timeout.
In the inbound play, though, Stanley Pringle was forced to pass the ball to Jeff Chan who took the shot from way beyond the arc and missed.
While Taha and Standhardinger led the charge in the final minutes, it was import Michael Qualls who led the team with 30 points to go with 13 rebounds and 5 assists.
Sean Anthony had an all-around game with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, and 5 steals. Standhardinger finished with 17 points and 11 boards.
"I give it to the players. They really wanted to win. Going up against an organized, complete team like Ginebra is tough. Good thing the breaks of the game went our way," Jarencio said.
Justin Brownlee led Ginebra with 31 points and 9 rebounds. Pringle had 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
NorthPort 98 - Qualls 30, Anthony 18, Standhardinger 17, Ferrer 11, Taha 7, Cruz 6, Lanete 5, Mercado 2, Elorde 2, King 0.
Ginebra 96 - Brownlee 31, Pringle 18, Tenorio 15, Aguilar 14, Thompson 7, Chan 4, Dela Cruz 4, Devance 3, Mariano 0, Caperal 0.
Quarterscores: 20-29, 51-52, 75-73, 98-96.
- NorthPort had plenty of help from the bench, which scored 31 points. Ginebra only had 11.
- NLEX and Meralco clinched the first and second spots, respectively. The no. 3 team will be determined after the last playdate of the elimination round on Wednesday.