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NLEX claims no.1 spot

Games on Tuesday
(The Arena, San Juan)
2 p.m. – Jumbo Plastic vs Blackwater
4 p.m. – Hog’s Breath vs Cagayan Valley

NLEX bounced back from a shock defeat to Cagayan Valley by crushing Zambales M-Builders,125-61, to clinch the top spot in the semis in the PBA D-League Aspirant’s Cup yesterday at The Arena in San Juan.

Borgie Hermida scored 18 points for the Road Warriors, who ended up tied with Big Chill on top with similar 11-2 records.

The Road Warriors, however, claimed the No. 1 spot by virtue of the winner-over-the-other rule.

NLEX, which beat Big Chill, 97-88, had to thank Hog’s Breath Café for securing the top spot after the latter downed Big Chill, 84-68, in the first game.

NLEX’s winning margin was the biggest ever recorded in league history since Maynilad slaughtered Junior Powerade, 119-67, in 2011.

The Road Warriors showed no signs of slowing down despite playing without key players – Garvo Lanete (shoulder injury) and Kirk Long (right ankle sprain) — as it pulled away for good in the second quarter, outscoring the Builders 29-5 for a 54-22 lead.

Matt Ganuelas and Jake Pascual added 17 apiece for NLEX, while also combining for 26 rebounds.

In the semis, NLEX will face the victor in the quarterfinal series between Hog’s Breath and Cagayan Valley while Big Chill battles he winner in the Jumbo Plastic-Blackwater Sports tussle.

Both Jumbo Plastic and Hog’s Breath enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage over their rivals after finishing third and fourth, respectively, in the elims.