Air21-JRU beats Big Chill twice to enter PBA D-League semisBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Air21-Jose Rizal University neutralized Big Chill’s twice-to-beat edge with an 80-71 clincher of a win on Thursday for a spot in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup semifinals at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Dexter Maiquez churned out 18 points, Byron Villarias added 12, as the Heavy Bombers — despite the tougher road after their last loss in the eliminations — still managed to reach the final four.
Air21-JRU escaped Big Chill, 63-61, in their first meeting in the quarterfinals last Tuesday.
A drive from Villarias with 3:38 left in the third quarter gave the Heavy Bombers the lead after a tight start, and they never looked back from there.
Anthony Del Rio, who added nine points, gave JRU a 68-54 lead — the biggest of the game — on two freethrows with four minutes left to play.
Alex Nuyles, who only suited up for Big Chill in latter part of the conference, scored a game-high 21 points while Arvie Bringas added 14.
From last conference’s finalists, the Superchargers had inconsistent Aspirants’ Cup overall and eventually led to their early demise.