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NLEX battles Hog’s

Games Today (San Juan Arena)
2 p.m. – NLEX vs Hog’s Breath Café
4 p.m. – Big Chill vs Blackwater Sports.

If the NLEX Road Warriors should make a return trip to the finals of the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, it’s got to be with their defense.

That’s how NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez figured it for the defending champions, who start their semifinal showdown against Hogs Breath Café on Tuesday at the San Juan Arena

Game 1 of the best-of-three series is set at 2 p.m. The other series between second-seed Big Chill and Blackwater Sports comes off at 4 o’clock

Hogs breath Café is one of only two teams which defeated the Road Warriors in the eliminations, “and that’s a plus factor for them,” according to Fernandez, seeking his fifth championship.

“It will be a tough series. We really have to take care of the ball and play solid individual and team defense if we want to win.”

Garvo Lanete missed the Road Warriors’ last two games with a shoulder injury, he sustained during their game against Derulo Accelero last Jan. 23. The league’s scorer leader remains doubtful on Tuesday.

“He’s status is still day-to-day. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll be able to play on Tuesday,” Fernandez said.

Notwithstanding their 83-78 victory against NLEX in the eliminations, Hog’s Breath Café coach Caloy Garcia maintained that Razorbacks will need a good day to be able beat the defending champions in the series.

“They [NLEX] have all the advantage. They’re an experienced and talented team. If you’re weak they’ll kill you. If you’re strong enough to stay with them until the last two minutes, you hope and pray the breaks work on your side,” Garcia said.

The Big Chill-Blackwater Sports series is just as interesting with both sides optimistic about their chances.

Big Chill coach Robert Sison and his coaching staff had the luxury of scouting Blackawater Sports in the quarterfinals and he believes they have figured out how to beat the Elite.