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D-League NLEX faces CafeFrance

Games Monday JCSGO Gym
12 p.m. – Wangs Basketball vs Banco de Oro
2 p.m. – NLEX vs Café France
4p.m – Cebuana Lhuillier vs Arellano U

Manila, Philippines – With the elimination round due to wind up in three weeks, defending champion NLEX looks to sustain its winning run when it faces Café France on Monday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the JCSGO gym.

The Road Warriors attempt to win four straight against one of the league’s hottest teams to bolster their bid for an outright semifinal berth.

Garvo Lanete scored 27 points, Ola Adeogun and Art dela Cruz came off the bench and collected 14 and 10 respectively to help the Road Warriors topple the Jumbo Plastic Giants, 89-70, on Thursday and matched their season start.

Game time is set at 2 o’clock following the 12 noon encounter between Wangs Basketball (4-7) and Banco de Oro (1-9). The third game at 4 p.m. pits Cebuana Lhuillier (3-4) against free-falling Arellano University (1-10).

“We’re not thinking about the playoffs yet. We still have a long way to go. Our goal is to win as many game s as we could and see what happens,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.

“Café France is playing well of late. With a chance to make the playoffs, I should say they are a dangerous team. So we have to match their energy and intensity.”

The Bakers have won four in row before the Christmas break and coach Egay Macaraya hopes his troops did not develop during the three-week sabbatical.

Café France is among the league top defensive teams with 71 points allowed per game. But its offense needs to improve. The Bakers just averaged 78 points per game.

“I saw them play (against Jumbo Plastic) and I must admit they have the advantage over us all the way. But the ball is round and hopefully, we still have that sting and winning attitude,” Macaraya said.

Only six from the field of 14 teams will advance to the playoffs with the top two teams clinching outright semifinal berths.

The next four teams will advance to the quarterfinals with the third and fourth seed teams earning twice to beat advantage against the no. 5 and 6 teams.