MANILA, Philippines—NLEX turned it up in the second quarter and pulled away with an 87-63 finals game one victory over Cagayan on Thursday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Blue Eagle Gym in Ateneo.
From just a five point edge after the first quarter, the Road Warriors poured 44 points in the ensuing two periods and mightily took over the match from the Rising Suns, who are first timers in the finals.
“We came in with much more energy and we started well kaya siguro bumaba energy nila,” head coach Boyet Fernandez told the reporters after the game.
NLEX, which had a glaring 20-9 advantage in assists, erected its biggest lead, 70-46, just before the third quarter ended on a bucket by Nico Salva.
Ian Sangalang led with 15 points, eight rebounds along with two assists, two blocks and two steals while four more others finished in double digits.
It would take one more victory for the Road Warriors to clinch their fourth championship and remain the only squad to have won it all since the league’s inception.
Eliud Poligrates carried Cagayan with 15 points, but Christopher Exciminiano and James Forrester—the Rising Suns’ energy guys—were held to just four points apiece.
The Rising Suns also failed to stop the Road Warriors from running, leading to 18 fastbreak points for the defending champions.
Game two is set at the San Juan Arena.