NLEX, Big Chill start D-League title showdown todayBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ALTHOUGH many predict a third straight championship romp for NLEX, coach Boyet Fernandez thinks his Road Warriors have their work cut out for them this time.
And Fernandez may just be right with Big Chill looking all set and determined to tackle the defending champion Road Warriors in Game 1 of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup finals today.
The opener of the best-of-three series fires off at 2 p.m. at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
“I think we can match up with them; it will be an interesting series,” said Big Chill coach Robert Sison, whose Superchargers will face a team that has yet to lose in 11 games this conference.
“The whole organization, starting from the management up to the whole team, is so motivated, so pumped up and so prepared for this encounter with NLEX.”
Fernandez, too, sees a tight match even if his favored Road Warriors are riding the league’s longest winning streak and boasting some of the best amateur players bannered by Cliff Hodge.
“This will be a classic matchup,” said Fernandez. “Both teams are evenly matched in terms of individual talent.”
Hodge, named as this conference’s Best Player, lead the Road Warriors along with Chris Ellis and collegiate stars Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang, RR Garcia, Kirk Long, Garvo Lanete and Borgie Hermida.
Sison, who will rely on Alex Mallari and Keith Jensen, thinks the pressure may be on the Road Warriors.
“Defending your title is doubly hard than winning it on your first shot at it,” said Sison. “Our ultimate goal is to get the championship. NLEX is a tough team, they have championship experience, they have a deep bench, they have the manpower. It will be very hard for us, but we’ll try to reach our goal.”
The Road Warriors are coming off a week-long break after sweeping Blackwater, 2-0, in the semifinals, while the Superchargers had to go through the full distance before disposing of Cebuana Lhuillier, 2-1.
“This is going to be tough but we are ready,” said Fernandez.