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NLEX survives another scare

Trims Icons; Blackwater scores

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NLEX guard RR Garcia tries to scoop in a basket against the defense of Mark Lester Benitez (left) and Carl Bryan Cruz of Informatics in yesterday’s match. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

NLEX blew a double-digit lead in the last seven minutes but held on to survive another pesky opponent in Informatics, 88-81, Wednesday to grab the solo lead with a perfect 4-0 card in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at San Juan Gym.

The Road Warriors struggled from the field in the final quarter as the Icons trimmed a 63-78 deficit to just four points, 79-83, going into the final two minutes.

But the three-time champions, who survived Jose Rizal U-Air21 on Nov. 13, made the most out of their trips to the foul line to post a record 21 straight wins that started this January. That effort tied the all-time longest winning streak Crispa set in the PBA 29 years ago.

Ian Sangalang paced NLEX with 16 points, eight rebounds and a couple of blocks, while Kevin Alas had 15 points for the Road Warriors, who wound up scoring their last 10 points from the foul line.

Earlier, Gio Ciriacruz buried a crucial triple with 96 seconds left to lift Blackwater Sports to a 69-64 nipping of Fruitas.

Ciriacruz’s trey pushed Blackwater ahead 63-60, sparking a 9-4 windup that gave the Elite their second triumph in three outings.

Kevin Ferrer led the Elite with 18 points.

The scores:

First Game

BLACKWATER SPORTS 69—Ferrer 18, Fortuna 10, G. Ciriacruz 9, Llagas 8, Abdul 7, Mangahas 4, Celiz 4, I. Ciriacruz 3, Chua 2, Mazo 2, Pe 2, Bagatsing 0, Lo 0.

FRUITAS 64—Lastimosa 17, Adeogun 14, Silungan 7, Caram 5, Dela Rosa 4, Belleza 4, Colina 4, Escueta 4, Terso 4, Pascual 1.

Quarters: 13-13, 34-40, 48-46, 69-64

Second Game

NLEX 88—Sangalang 16, Alas 15, Garcia 13, Long 12, Hermida 10, Sumalinog 8, Camson 7, Escoto 3, Salva 2, J. Pascual 2, Amer 0, Ganuelas 0, R. Pascual 0.

INFORMATICS 81—Rogado 21, Cruz 19, Melegrito 11, Benitez 8, Del Rosario 7, Hayes 5, Bautista 4, Mangahas 2, Carlos 2, Montuano 2, Sanghera 0.

Quarters: 22-13, 41-32, 70-59, 88-81


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