Pulling off a mighty upset against a fancied Barangay Ginebra squad isn't something you see every day.
This is why NLEX coach Frankie Lim was delighted by his team's pulsating 120-117 win over the Gin Kings in the PBA Commissioner's Cup on Friday.
"I think tonight was extra special for the players because they're playing a big team and a very strong team like Ginebra," said Lim after the Road Warriors rebounded from a humiliating defeat to Terrafirma.
Earl Clark scattered 37 points to go with 17 rebounds and 7 assists for the Road Warriors while Don Trollano exploded with 26 before cramping up as he led NLEX to an improved 4-7 record and a tie for 10th with idle TNT.
"The challenge is always there with Ginebra. Even if you're up by seven or six (in the stretch), you're not sure of a win if you're playing against Ginebra. And I admire my guys, especially my assistant coaches, for pulling through," said Lim.
Trollano came into the game with much to prove.
"We were motivated coming from the terrible loss to Terrafirma. Hindi kami pwedeng matalo," he said. "We also had a deal with coach, it gave us a little more energy para makuha ang panalo."
NLEX held a 108-103 cushion going to the last 3:07 of regulation but that quickly dissipated when Scottie Thompson and Justin Brownlee anchored a searing attack that allowed Ginebra to surge ahead, 113-111.
Clark tied the count then forced Brownlee to miss the potential winning jumper in the last play of the fourth.
During extra time, Ginebra took the driver's seat on Thompson's bucket, 117-116, but the Road Warriors regained control with Brandon Ganuelas Rosser's booming corner trey.
NLEX then shut out the Gin Kings and Paul Varilla extended the lead to four with a split.
With the win, the Road Warriors ended their 5-game slump while stopping Ginebra's 5-game streak.