By CHRISTIAN JACINTO
Games Today (Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig City)
12 noon – Hog’s Breath vs Wangs Basketball
2 p.m. – Cagayan Valley vs Boracay Rum
4 p.m. – Blackwater vs NU-BDO
Defending champion NLEX launched its bid for a three-peat in style as it demolished hapless Arellano-Air21, 93-60, in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup yesterday at the JCSGO gym in Cubao.
Garvo Lanete scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter highlighted by four triples to cap off a blistering second half by the Road Warriors that saw them breaking away from the Chiefs.
Matt Ganuelas added 16 points, four assists and three steals while Kevin Alas chipped in 12 points as the NLEX holdovers took charge from their new teammates who were part of San Beda’s successful NCAA championship run against Letran that ended last Saturday.
The Red Lions’ Nigerian center Ola Adeogun added nine points and seven boards while Bedan alumnus Jake Pascual flirted at a double-double before finishing with nine points and nine boards.
NLEX showed no signs of any championship hangover despite practicing as a complete team only once.
“Hindi lang kami nascout nung Arellano kasi this is just our first game. Hindi lang kami naprepare ng Arellano kasi di pa nila kami nakita maglaro,” said coach Boyet Fernandez, who was also the master strategist in San Beda’s title campaign.
“I just wanted them (San Beda players) to get the feel of the court. Kasi iba ang laro ng NCAA sa D-League. Medyo di pa sila nakapagpahinga kaya wala naman ako sanang plano paglaruin ng mahaba,” he added.
NLEX led 37-27 at the half before embarking on a furious third quarter to take a 63-46 edge going into the payoff period. In that stretch, Ganuelas, Alas and Adeogun combined for 19 points.
John Bangga led Arellano with 14 points while Gio Jalalon had a decent all around game with 10 points, six boards and six assists. The Chiefs, however, dropped to 1-3.
NLEX 93 – Lanete 19, Ganuelas 16, Alas 12, Adeogun 9, J. Pascual 9, Hermida 8, Dela Rosa 5, R. Pascual 5, Koga 4, K. Pascual 4, Long 2, Dela Cruz 0, Amer 0.
ARELLANO-AIR 21 60 – Bangga 14, Hernandez 11, Jalalon 10, Arquero 7, Fran 6, Bartolo 4, Palma 2, Serjue 2, Menadoza 2, Ciriacruz 2, Tayongtong 0, Agovida 0, Cortes 0
Quarters: 20-13; 37-27; 63-46; 93-60.