Hodge, Abueva lift NLEX over BlackwaterBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—Cliff Hodge led the way as NLEX ground out an 86-77 win over Blackwater Thursday and seized a 1-0 head start in their PBA D-League Foundation Cup best-of-three semifinals series at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Hodge, a defensive specimen with his length and athleticism, had 22 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
The Elite kept within striking distance and even held a 65-64 edge nearing the six-minute mark of the final quarter.
The Road Warriors, though, went on a series of scoring spurts to finally put away their gutsy foes. A basket by Garvo Lanete put NLEX ahead, 80-71, with 2:10 left.
Calvin Abueva also put up big numbers with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
Paul Zamar paced Blackwater with 18 points, 12 coming from downtown.
Game 2 will be on Tuesday at the San Juan Gym.