THE streaking start of the NLEX Road Warriors in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup stayed yesterday following their 122-114 double overtime victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Winners of their first two games early in the season-ending PBA tournament, the Road Warriors made it three in a row after staving off a gutsy challenge from the Elasto Painters to claim top spot in the standings.
NLEX found itself in a nip-and-tuck affair early that saw it trailing by a hair, 27-26, at the end of the first period.
It, however, would wax hot in the second canto, outscoring Rain or Shine, 33-28, to seize the lead by halftime, 59-55.
The two teams continued to slug it out in the third period, not budging an inch but the Road Warriors would keep their heads above water, taking an 84-81 lead end of the quarter.
NLEX opened the payoff period strong, going on an 8-2 run to extend its lead, 92-83, in the opening minutes.
Rain or Shine though would charge back, outscoring NLEX, 16-4, to go ahead, 99-96, with 4:38 to go in the contest.
Five points from import Aaron Fuller and Larry Fonacier allowed the Road Warriors to reclaim the edge, 101-99, at the 3:30 mark.
The teams went at it thereafter until Maverick Ahanmisi levelled the count at 101-all with a jumper with 23 ticks remaining in regulation.
NLEX tried to win the match but was held by Rain or Shine to force an overtime.
The extra period started tightly contested with Beau Belga of Rain or Shine opening scoring only to be answered by a triple from Alex Mallari to push NLEX ahead anew, 104-103, early.
Rain or Shine would hold a 107-106 lead with 58 seconds to go.
Two free throws from Mr. Fuller gave back the lead to NLEX, 108-107.
The two teams were tied at 110 with 2.6 seconds.
James Yap had the chance to win the game for Rain or Shine but his three-point heave did not go in as time expired in the first OT.
In the second OT, the two teams went back and forth before NLEX raced to a 117-112 lead with 1:20 to go in the clock.
It was a cushion it would not relinquish the rest of the way as it held on for the win.
Mr. Fuller led the way with 33 points and 20 rebounds while Kevin Alas also had a double-double 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Rain or Shine, meanwhile, was paced by JD Weatherspoon with 20 points and 16 boards.
With the loss, the Elasto Painters dropped to 1-1.