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De Liano, Holt power Dyip

De Liano’s beefy production was spiked with four triples while also hitting seven-of-seven from the stripe.

Top rookie Stephen Holt finally rises to the occasion when Terrafirma nipped NLEX, 113-112, Saturday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. | Photograph courtesy of PBA

Games today:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

3 p.m. — Meralco vs San Miguel

6:15 p.m. — Ginebra vs Magnolia


ANTIPOLO CITY — Javi Gomez de Liano caught fire with a career-high 31 points while top overall rookie pick Stephen Holt struck late as Terrafirma carved out a nail-biting 113-112 win over NLEX Saturday in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center.

But it was veteran forward Aldrech Ramos who delivered the telling blows in the final seconds when he completed a putback and watched the Road Warriors fail miserably to make two free throws that should have sent the game into overtime.

Instead, import Thomas Robinson, who has played in the National Basketball Association, halved his charities, making the first and missing the second in the last 1.3 seconds.

It was Terrafirma’s second straight win for the Dyip, who fought back from 19 points down before stunning San Miguel Beer in overtime, 117-113, a few days ago.

De Liano’s beefy production was spiked with four triples while also hitting seven-of-seven from the stripe.

Holt, on the other hand, played his best offensive game, firing 21 points, including five straight points that kept the rallying Road Warriors at bay.

“It shows that we really wanted to win this game,” De Liano said. “It’s like we’re having a brand new team, brand new players and we want to change the narrative of this team.”

Meanwhile, Ginebra and Magnolia, two of the league’s most popular teams, take center stage anew as they continue the Manila Clasico tradition.

The two teams square off in the main game at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday to be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum right after the curtainraiser featuring Meralco and San Miguel at 3 p.m.

Coach Chito Victolero and the Hotshots won their first three games and they are expected to walk the tightrope in the hopes of emerging victorious anew against the crowd darling Gin Kings.

Ginebra didn’t show signs of rust and lack of cohesion even though the team paraded a new import in Tony Bishop and Mav Ahanmisi when the Gin Kings crushed Converge, 100-86, on Friday.

“We expect a very hard game on Sunday,” Victolero said. “We also expect a big crowd on Sunday. But this is a player’s game.”

“We’ll give it to the players and the fans and hope they can enjoy the game,” Victolero added.

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