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NLEX, Blackwater try to seal title duel

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

Manila, Philippines – NLEX and Blackwater Sports will be looking to seal a championship rematch for the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup when they plunge into Game 2 of their semifinal series against Hog’s Breath Café and Big Chill, respectively, on Thursday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.

“We want to finish [the series]. We don’t want to delay our goal,” said Blackwater Sports coach Leo Isaac, visibly confident that his troops would repeat over the embattled Superchargers in their scheduled 2 o’clock duel.

Jericho Cruz had another stellar performance and Bacon Austria knocked some big shots off the bench as the six-seeded Elite won Game 1, 84-72, last Tuesday.

They turned the game around in the second quarter using a 23-6 run.

It was Blackwater Sports’ fifth straight keeping it unbeaten in the new year.

“We are using those victories to motivate the players and improve their confidence level,” said Isaac.

Isaac said he expects Big Chill to make adjustments and come out strong in Game 2. “But we’ll be ready.”

NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez also expects Hog’s Breath Café to bounce back in their 4 p.m. duel.

“We just caught [Hog’s Breath Café] off night. They missed a lot of 3-point attempts and also shot poorly from the free throw line. But they’ll be dangerous in Game 2. Hopefully we could build on this [Game 1] victory,” Fernandez said.

The Road Warriors, who are seeking their fifth championship, won the series opener, 99-74. Garvo Lanete, who missed the team’s last two games in the eliminations with a shoulder injury, returned to the line up to score a game-high 23 points while Jake Pascual added 11 points and 11 rebounds as the defending champions dominated the Razorbacks throughout.

“But it ain’t over till it’s over. We have one more game to win. Hopefull we could carry the momentum of this [victory] in Game 2,” Fernandez said.