NLEX escapes Villarias-led JRU, sets up Finals clash with Cagayan
More News from INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines – Defending champion NLEX survived a furious fight back by Air21-JRU 87-85 for the last Finals slot Tuesday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Arena in San Juan.
John Villarias would’ve won it for the Heavy Bombers had his three-point shot gone in but it was well defended by Kirk Long as time expired.
“Kirk Long bailed us out today,” said NLEX head coach Boyet Fernandez. “It was a relief that we won this game. I was really worried about this JRU team since the eliminations.”
NLEX appeared to have wrapped up the game after Kevin Alas scored on a breakaway layup 74-62 with 7:11 remaining.
But with Villarias in tow, JRU refused to go away.
Villarias sank a trey that pulled the Bombers to within two 81-83 with still 1:48 left.
JRU was able to make stops but costly turnovers hurt its chances in the end.
Kevin Alas unloaded 12 of his 19 points in the third quarter while Ian Sangalang added 14 points and nine rebounds, including five offensive rebounds.
Anthony del Rio and Nard Pinto also had big games for JRU. Del Rio nailed a wide-open trey that brought the Bombers to within one 84-85 with 37.0 ticks left.
Ronald Pascual was fouled and made both free throws to give the Road Warriors, who set up a best-of-three championship series with Cagayan, a three-point cushion.
Khazim Mirza drew a foul and intentionally missed his second free throw that got the ball back to JRU after a review leading to Villarias’ miss from deep.
Greg Slaughter did not play due to a sore left shoulder but his presence was hardly missed with Jake Pascual and Sangalang combining for 27 points and 19 rebounds.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94