PBA D-League: Air21-JRU trips NLEX, forges semis game 3By Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Air21-JRU was a threat inside and out on offense and turned back powerhouse NLEX, 108-94, Thursday in the PBA Aspirants Cup semifinals at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Heavy Bombers showed no effects from the 85-105 beating they got last Tuesday and, this time, kept the defending champions at bay all game.
“We had a good start earlier. The good thing was, the boys did not want to lose and go on a vacation early. I so give them credit,” said Vergel Meneses after the game.
Meneses, though, claimed they executed the same game plan and did not do any changes to forge a deciding game three.
“We did not have any adjustments. We did the same thing,” added Meneses.
The only difference was it worked so well for JRU this time around.
After scoring the first 12 of 13 points of the game, the Heavy Bombers just kept on making the Road Warriors work for their shots and even rebounds.
JRU also had every answer to every dangerous run of NLEX, keeping a lead not lower than four points in the payoff period.
Byron Villarias uncorked 24 points along with four rebounds, five assists and a steal while Philippine Paniamogan and Dexter Maiquez chipped in 20 markers each.
Villarias and Paniamogan accounted for eight of JRU’s 10 treys and also eight of the 20 assists, while Maiquez hauled down 10 boards.
John Pinto and Khazim Mirza had 16 and 10 points, respectively.
Kevin Alas helped the Road Warriors inch within 74-78, with 6:59 left to play but that was the closest they would get.
Five Road Warriors wound up in double digits but only registered 13 assists — seven less than JRU’s total — and 37 rebounds.
Slaughter and Alas scored 15 points each.