Christian Standhardinger, Michael Qualls and Sean Anthony were all Mr. Ironmen for NorthPort, all playing super extended minutes and each one delivering as the Batang Pier beat out the NLEX Road Warriors in a triple-overtime grind of a do-or-die setto to make the PBA semifinals for the second time in franchise history.
Standhardinger, Qualls and Anthony all had hulking numbers, carrying NorthPort on their broad shoulders as they outlasted the Road Warriors, 126-123, in a rubber that lasted almost an eternity.
Emerging triumphant in the end, the Batang Pier became the fourth eighth-seeded team in PBA playoffs history to dispose of a top seed.
Winning a fourth straight do-or-die match from the elims, coach Pido Jarencio and his troops advanced to the semifinals of the PBA Governors' Cup versus coach Tim Cone and his Barangay Ginebra Kings.
Standhardinger came through with 33 points, 23 rebounds and seven assists in 61:02 of action, Qualls produced 31 markers, 21 boards, five blocks and four dish-offs in 61:48 of play while Anthony logged in 30 points and 11 rebounds.
Anthony scored the go-ahead basket on a drive then Standhardinger drained the insurance charities as NorthPort finished off NLEX that went on a free-fall after an 8-1 season start.
Even with Poy Erram and Paul Varilla serving suspension incurred for their technical infractions in Game One, the Road Warriors dominated the regulation play only to slow down towards the end.
Mike Harris obviously had no more power on his legs in the overtime plays.
After being limited to 12 in the previous game, Harris erupted for 43 points that went with 16 boards and five assists, but was a spent force at the finish.
He had to be subbed in the heat of the fight in the third OT with the onset of cramps.
Upon his return, he opted to pass, and the Road Warriors eventually lost the game on missed three-pointers by Jericho Cruz and Kiefer Ravena. (SB)
NorthPort 126 - Standhardinger 33, Qualls 31, Anthony 30, Elorde 12, Taha 7, Ferrer 6, Lanete 4, Mercado 3, Cruz 0, King 0.
NLEX 123 - Harris 43, Ravena 22, Quinahan 13, Ighalo 12, Soyud 9, Paniamogan 8, Cruz 6, Taulava 6, Miranda 2, Fonacier 2, Alas 0.
Quarterscores: 24-27, 43-56, 70-74, 99-99, 116-116, 126-123.