MANILA, Philippines—Defending champion NLEX got its groove back as it scored a 92-73 drubbing over Fruitas Monday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
After squeaking past Air21-JRU and Informatics in their last two games, the Road Warriors this time, never letup as they cruised to their fifth straight win, 22 consecutive victories overall dating back to January.
“We’re just lucky that Ola (Adeogun) did not play but I give credit to the boys rights now, they were focused,” said NLEX head coach Boyet Fernandez.
“I told the boys just be part of history, na-excite din siguro sila dun (they were excited about it),” added Fernandez, whose team remained in first place at 5-0.
Matthew Ganuelas gave the Road Warriors an added production on both ends with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
NLEX withstood a 12-1 blast put up by Fruitas that cut the deficit to eight, 51-43, as the Road Warriors answered with a run of their own.
Ian Sangalang worked on the low block to spark NLEX’s 12-0 spurt with a three-point play.
Borgie Hermida, who had a team-high 15 points, capped the Road Warriors tear with a corner three and a layup off the turnover that pushed the lead to 19, 62-43, with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
The Shakers, who missed the services of center Ola Adeogun due to a right ankle sprain, never recovered as they reeled to their second straight loss for a 1-3 slate.
Nico Salva had 14 points, 10 in the second quarter where NLEX grabbed a 15-point advantage.
Pong Escobal shot a game-high 25 points for Fruitas.