It's do-or-die for NLEX and NorthPort.
The Road Warriors and the Batang Pier once again go to war in their quarterfinal tussle to see who takes the last semifinal seat in the 2019 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup.
With both their campaigns on the line, NLEX and NorthPort meet in a knockout game at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.
The Batang Pier forced a rubber match after emphatically nipping the stunned Road Warriors.
NorthPort routed NLEX, 115-90, last Monday in a fight-marred game to stay alive and force the decider.
“We’re just able to survive. We need one more,” said NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio. “Otherwise, that first win will not matter.”
Michael Qualls exploded for 39 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in the Batang Pier’s victory as he led his team’s fight.
NLEX is hopeful that it can take advantage of its second chance to advance.
“That’s why we had a twice-to-beat advantage. It’s for times like these. We hope to still advance,” said NLEX star Kiefer Ravena.
The victor between the two will face waiting No. 4 seed Barangay Ginebra in the best-of-five semifinals.
Their last encounter saw a scuffle wherein NLEX’s Poy Erram and Paul Varilla both got ejected for flagrant foul penalty two each after both threw elbows at Qualls and Christian Standhardinger in a scramble with less than five minutes remaining in the game.
As a result, Erram and Varilla were suspended for one game and will miss the deciding game for NLEX.
In addition, Erram was fined P60,000 and Varilla P50,000 for their respective actions.
Also, Philip Paniamogan was hit with a P5,000 fine as well for his hit on Standhardinger and the latter was slapped with the same amount for an elbow to Kiefer Ravena.