The NLEX Road Warriors rode the heroics of Calvin Oftana late in regulation to force overtime and eventually snatch a 114-108 win over the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup on Thursday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Phoenix was on its way to completing a remarkable comeback from 19 points down as they led, 102-97, after a tough jumper by Matthew Wright with 18 seconds left in the fourth.
However, NLEX did not give up, finding the Oftana for a three-pointer to slice the deficit to just two. The Fuel Masters had numerous chances to put the game away but missed three of its next four free-throws, which opened the door for Oftana to hit another triple with 2.4 seconds to go to tie the game up at 103-all and send the game to overtime.
The game remained close in the extra session as a three-pointer by Phoenix guard RJ Jazul pulled his team to within one, 108-109, with 43 seconds left. However, NLEX’s veteran forward JR Quiñahan answered with a trifecta of his own to push the Road Warriors’ lead to four, 112-108, with just 27 ticks remaining in the ballgame.
Oftana, the pride of Dumaguete City, finished the match with an impressive stat-line of 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and two blocks to help NLEX win their second game in a row and improve to 4-2.
Quiñahan added 21 markers while Kevin Alas and Don Trollano put up 18 and 17 points, respectively, for the Road Warriors.
“Kailagan naming manalo ng mga ganitong klaseng laro. Lalong tumitibay ang team kapag ganitong mga panalo,” said NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao.
Matthew Wright led Phoenix with 19 points, eight assists, and two steals, but it wasn’t enough to keep his team from dropping their third game in a row to fall to 2-5.
Rookie guard Tyler Tio added 18, while Sean Anthony and Larry Muyang had 17 points apiece.