NLEX stormed into its sixth straight finals appearance by downing Hog’s Breath, 85-72, yesterday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Buoyed by their smashing 99-74 victory in Game 1, the Road Warriors scored the first 11 points of the game en route to another runaway victory – thanks to sustained brilliance of Garvo Lanete and Matt Ganuelas.
They led the team by finishing with16 and 14 points, respectively, aside from combining for 11 rebounds. Jake Pascual provided enough reinforcement for NLEX with a double-double performance of 11 points and 10 boards.
The Road Warriors took their biggest lead at 32 points, 76-44, late in the third.
NLEX now awaits the winner in the other semifinal pairing after Big Chill forced a knockout game with a 95-84 victory over Blackwater Sports in the first game.
Facing elimination, the No. 2 seed Superchargers played with a sense of urgency this time to repulse the Elite with their relentless attacks and rock-solid defense.
Trailing the Elite by three points, the Superchargers outscored them, 32-14, in that period to take a 55-40 lead at halftime.
Heroes came aplenty for the Superchargers as Juneric Baloria, Jeckster Apinan, Dexter Maiquez and Mar Villahermosa scored five points apiece in that killer stretch to grab the momentum.
They were so aggressive they padded their lead to 22 points early in the fourth, 64-42, before the Elite slowly crawled their way back into the contest to make things interesting.
Behind the exploits of Kevin Ferrer and Allan Mangahas, the Dioceldy Sy-owned squad managed to cut the deficit to just six, 88-82 after a split by Pari Llagas. (Christian Jacinto)
BIG CHILL 95 – Maiquez 25, Baloria 13, Apinan 13, Cervantes 8, Canals 8, Villahermosa 8, Mirza 6, Brondial 6, Santos 4, Heruela 2, Lozada 2, Belleza 0.
BLACKWATER SPORTS 84 – A. Mangahas 21, Llagas 20, Ferrer 15, Ciriacruz 12, Bulawsan 7, Cruz 4, Manguera 2, Austria 2, Bagatsing 1, Pe 0.
Quarters: 23-26; 55-40; 73-61; 95-84
NLEX 85 – Lanete 16, Ganuelas 14, J. Pascual 11, Alas 9, R. Pascual 8, Dela Cruz 6, K. Pascual 6, Hermida 6, Raymundo 4, Adeogun 4, Dela Rosa 1.
HOG’S BREATH CAFÉ 72 – Robles 18, Racal 13, Ruaya 11, Publico 7, Sanga 6, Paniamogan 5, Austria 3, Gabawan 3, Rios 2, Allera 2, Macasaet 2.
Quarters: 20-8; 40-28; 69-44; 85-72