MANILA, Philippines — Cebuana Lhuillier and NLEX have always been one of the top two teams since the inception of the PBA D-League.
But it was only on Thursday that Cebuana Lhuillier was able to defeat NLEX 71-64 in the 2013 Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
“Pwede naman palang manalo, ‘no,” joked head coach Beaujing Acot. “It feels good, beating a champion team makes the character solid.
The Gems exploited the Road Warriors’ diminished interior threat with bangers Gab Banal, Raymond Aguilar and June Dizon chipping in double digits.
Banal led anew with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Aguilar and June Dizon, meanwhile, added 12.
Cebuana Lhuillier executed a strong fourth quarter game plan, while NLEX just couldn’t get its shots going, especially from the three-point range (4-of-26).
Paul Zamar helped the Gems fend off NLEX, which trimmed the lead down to 59-61 with 2 minutes left, knocking down a basket and six of the next 10 points from the stripe.
The Road Warriors sorely missed the presence of Greg Slaughter and Ian Sangalang, as only Eric Camson wound up in double digits with 14.
Despite taking care of the ball exceptionally with just four TOs, the Road Warriors didn’t have rhythm and missed 40 shots from two-point range.
The 0-2 is worst start of NLEX in the PBA D-League history.