NLEX ices Big Chill; Blackwater scores
MANILA, Philippines—NLEX’s big guns came out firing in the final quarter as the Road Warriors rallied from a double-digit deficit against Big Chill, 80-70, at the start of the PBA D-League Foundation’s Cup Tuesday at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Calvin Abueva fired a game-high 20 points, the last on a dagger triple that gave the Road Warriors a 77-70 buffer in the last 37 seconds.
“I think Big Chill really play their hearts out every time they’re against us,” NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez said of the Superchargers, who dealt their two losses last conference.
Abueva also had 18 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and a steal.
Blackwater Sports also opened its bid with a victory as the Elite rolled past RnW Pacific Pipes, 88-67, in the first game.
Gio Ciricruz had 16 points and four new recruits wound up in double figures to push the Elite ahead by as many as 40 points, 73-33, in the third.
“We were tentative in the first five minutes, but when they woke up, they just kept going,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac.
The Road Warriors, who are bidding for a third straight crown, also got a huge lift in the second half from Chris Ellis, Cliff Hodge, Emman Monfort and new recruit Kirk Long.
Long, a standout Ateneo guard, knocked in a key triple that gave the Road Warriors their first lead of the game, 69-68, after the top seeds trailed by as many as 11 points, 39-50.
“That’s his welcome shot,” Fernandez said of Long.
BLACKWATER 88—Ciriacruz 16, Mandani 15, Celiz 14, Zamar 13, Nabong 11, Ignacio 9, Pascual 6, Fortuna 2, Jeffries 2, Montemayor 0, Bautista 0, Afuang 0.
PACIFIC PIPES 67—Sanvictores 13, Rogado 11, Ilagan 11, Colina 7, Buensuceso 7, Antonio 6, Elinon 4, Teng 3, Acidre 3, Bustos 2, Pe 0, Mariano 0.
Quarters: 21-16, 49-22, 73-38, 88-67
NLEX 80—Abueva 20, Ellis 16, Sangalang 13, Hodge 11, Monfort 7, Lanete 4, Long 3, Hermida 2, Dehesa 2, Marcelo 2, Belencion 0, Co 0.
BIG CHILL 70—Jensen 17, Tan 10, Ponferrada 9, Montilla 7, Mallari 7, Viernes 6, Villahermosa 5, Santos 4, Collado 2, Reyes 2, Cortes 1, Custodio 0.
Quarters: 21-23, 37-39, 59-61, 80-70
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