NOW gaining ground after a surprise 0-2 start, NLEX tries to stretch its winning run against Fruitas in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup today at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
The Road Warriors, who seem to have finally adjusted to the absence of two key cogs, go for a fifth straight victory against the Shakers in the 12 noon battle with the winner grabbing a piece of the second spot.
“We’re coping,” NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez said of his defending champions, who struggled early in the conference following the unexpected departure of big men Ian Sangalang and Greg Slaughter.
As NLEX tries to sustain its resurgence, last conference’s runner-up Cagayan Valley hopes to arrest a three-game skid against Hog’s Breath Cafe in the first game at 10 a.m.
The Rising Suns bowed to the Road Warriors, 79-85, in a rematch of the finalists of the last tournament Tuesday, pushing Cagayan down to the lower half of the standings at 3-4.
Big Chill, another favored squad struggling at 3-4, tackles winless Informatics at 2 p.m.
Former Ateneo standout Nico Salva knocked in a game-high 17 points and Ronald Pascual (14 points and nine rebounds) and Jake Pascual (10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks) also delivered on both ends to power the Road Warriors past the Rising Suns and to their fourth straight triumph.
Another win will lift NLEX to a share of second with idle Café France (5-2) and just a game behind solo leader Blackwater Sports (6-1).
“The game is crucial to both teams,” said Fernandez. “The winner of this game will have a good chance of making it to the playoffs.”
Led by Carlo Lastimosa, the Shakers aim to rebound from a 63-74 setback against EA Regen last Thursday.