NorthPort frustrates NLEX to extend series, TNT comes back over Magnolia to advance

The NorthPort Batang Pier are now the only low-seeded team alive in the Quarterfinals. After the fall of the other teams in the first day of the playoffs, the Batang Pier made sure to stay alive another day with a 115-90 win over the top-seeded NLEX Road Warriors. NorthPort and NLEX will now feature in a do-or-die match-up for the final Semis spot.

Michael Qualls and Christian Standhardinger once again teamed up to dominate the game. Qualls had 39 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. Standhardinger added 24 points, 13 rebounds and three steals. Sean Anthony and Kevin Ferrer teamed up to chip in 21 points. JR Quiñahan led NLEX with 20 points.

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The Batang Pier put on a show in the first half to build a big lead. Qualls scored all but two points in an 11-4 run that grew a one-point lead to an eight-point midway through the first period. Jerramy King then came off the bench to give NorthPort a scoring boost, closing the period with a five-point spurt that put them up by 10.

Qualls led another scoring blitz late in the second period to help the Batang pier build an insurmountable lead. He scored on an and-one hoop, followed by a three-pointer, as he erupted for 10 points in a 14-4 run. That put the Batang Pier up by 23 points. NorthPort grew the lead as high as 26 points in the second half, running away with the win.

In the second game, the TNT KaTropa came back from as much as 18 points to pull the rug from under the Magnolia Hotshots, 98-97. The KaTropa advanced to the Semifinals after that tight-win over the Hotshots.

Jayson Castro wasted no time announcing his return from injury. He led the way for the KaTropa with a 30-point, seven-assist performance. KJ McDaniels scored 25 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to help out Castro. Troy Rosario added 12 points and six boards for TNT. Romeo Travis had a monster game with 32 points and 26 rebounds but that performance was wasted in the loss.

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From a six-point halftime lead, the Hotshots went on a scoring burst in the third period. Jio Jalalon sparked a run midway through the period with six straight points off a three-pointer and an and-one play. That formed half of a 12-2 run that grew Magnolia’s lead up to 18.

Castro, Rosario, McDaniels and Bobby Ray Parks made a run in the fourth quarter to pull TNT back into the game. Even with that big run by the KaTropa, Magnolia was still ahead by nine with a little over three minutes in the game. That’s when the Blur went to work. Castro scored four straight points to cut the deficit down to five. McDaniels added a layup and assist to Rosario to tie the game at 96 with 34 seconds left in the game.

Travis was fouled on his next possession but only managed a split from the line. That allowed Parks to reclaim the lead on two free throws on the other end off an attempt at a put back. Travis missed his final attempt allowing TNT to escape with the win.