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Big Chill gains finals

BLACKWATER’s Gilbert Bulawan (right) drives to the basket against Alex Santos of Big Chill during PBA D-League action yesterday at the Arena in San Juan.

Game Sunday (Araneta Coliseum)
1 p.m. — NLEX vs Big Chill

Manila, Philippines – Janus Lozada made four 3-points shots and Big Chill dominated Blackwater Sports on Tuesday to clinch the deciding Game 3 of their semifinal series, 89-78, at The Arena in San Juan.

By winning their second straight do-or-die game, the Superchargers advanced to Finals of the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup against top-seeded and defending champion NLEX.

Game 1 of the best-of- three titular series in on Sunday (1 p.m. ) at the Araneta Coliseum.

“Defense won it for us. Overall, it was a total team effort. Everybody contributed to accomplish our goal,” said Big Chill coach Robert Sison.

It will be the second Finals appearance for Sison and the Superchargers, who were swept by the Road Warriors in the 2011-12 Foundation Cup Finals.

“It will be a very tough mountain climb,” Sison said of their titular series with NLEX. “But nothing is impossible.”

Janus Lozada led all scorers with 21 points, including 5 of 11 shooting from the 3-point. As a team, Big Chill made 11 of 35 attempts from downtown.

Big Chill also got big games from Reil Cervantes (18 points), Mark Canlas (15 points), reserved center Rodney Brondial (9 points, 7 rebounds) and guard Quinton Heruela (9 assists, 10 rebounds).

It was tough loss for the Blackwater Sports, who took Game 1, 84-72. But they didn’t have the answer to Big Chill pressing defense in the Games 2 and 3.

The Elite also couldn’t match up with the Superchargers’ energy and intensity when it matters the most.

“I’ve learned my lesson. I tried to build a star-studded team to match-up with NLEX but it didn’t develop the chemistry to win for us the championship. What I have now is a bunch of players willing to sacrifice and play their roles to win. I’m proud with these guys,” Sison said.

The two teams battled through five deadlocks and six lead changes in the first half that ended with successive threes from Lozada to give the Big Chill a 41-33 lead at halftime.

The Elite never led again after that.

Jericho Cruz scored 21 points, Allan Mangahas added 16 and Pari Llagas had 12 for the Blackwater Sports, which shot just 36 percent (26 of 72) from the field.

Big Chill 89 – Lozada 21, Cervantes 18, Canlas 15, BrondiaL 9, Apinan 9, Marquez 8, Beloria 3, Villahermosa 3, Mirza 0, Santos 0.

Blackwater Sports 78 – Cruz 21, Mangahs 16, Llagas 12, Bulawan 11, Ciriacruz 11, Ferrer 7, Manguera 0, Bagatsing 0, Pe 0, Austria 0.

Quarters: 20-18; 41-33; 66-56; 89-78