It was a bittersweet feat for NLEX as it ended Alaska's run in the league following a decisive 96-80 victory during their quarterfinal clash in the PBA Governors' Cup on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Road Warriors will now meet another powerful team in Barangay Ginebra for their semifinals showdown while the Aces will now pack their things and put an end to a 36-year historic PBA stint.
Alaska announced last month its exit from the league, leaving behind 14 titles highlighted by a rare grand slam feat in 1996 under its then head coach Tim Cone.
It was all NLEX from the get-go as the wards of head coach Yeng Guiao led Alaska, 46-31, at halftime with JR Quiñahan and Cameron Clark joining forces to lead the way.
That lead further went high with the Road Warriors erecting a 71-52 upper hand by the end of third, where Clark was already in a 20-point mark as NLEX moved a quarter away from booking a semis slot.
There was nothing Alaska could do as a triple from Kris Rosales capped the victory for the Road Warriors, who were eyeing for a return trip to the semifinals stage for the first time since the 2017-2018 Philippine Cup.
The NLEX win also completed the semis cast as Magnolia and Meralco had earlier eliminated Phoenix Super LPG and San Miguel.
Clark led the offensive scheme of NLEX with his 24 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals while Quiñahan had 12 markers.
No players from Alaska finished higher than 15 points with import Mark Saint Fort listing 14 markers, seven rebounds, and three assists while Mike Tolomia and Mike Digregorio carved out 11 markers each.
NLEX 96 - Clark 24, Quiñahan 12, Chua 10, Nieto 10, Rosales 12, Trollano 9, Alas 7, Soyud 7, Varilla 3, Ighalo 2, Murrel 0, Paniamogan 0, Semerad 0.
Alaska 80 - Saint Fort 14, Teng 13, Tolomia 11, Digregorio11, Bulanadai 8, Taha 8, Tratter 6, Ilagan 5, Ahanmisi 4, Adamos 0, Racal 0, Faundo 0.
Quarters: 21-20, 46-31, 71-52, 96-80.
—MGP, GMA News