Fernandez hopes NLEX Road Warriors go for jugular
MANILA, Philippines — NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez wants his Road Warriors to finish off Big Chill knowing that it’s one gritty team capable of a series comeback.
Vying for a strong start similar to Game 1, the Road Warriors target a fifth championship against the Superchargers in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup finals Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“They did it in the semis,” a wary Fernandez said of the Superchargers, who came back from a 0-1 series deficit against Blackwater Sports in the semifinals.
“I’m sure Big Chill will make adjustments, but we’re ready. Hopefully, we can wrap it up.”
Game 2 of the best-of-three title series is set at 4:15 p.m. It will be aired on Aksyon TV at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Drawing big shots from Kevin Alas and Matt Ganuelas, the Road Warriors survived the Superchargers’ late surge for a 79-75 escape in Game 1.
Alas (17 points) and Ganuelas (13 points) topscored and Jake Pascual (11 points and nine rebounds) and Ola Adeogun (10 points and 12 boards) also came through for the Road Warriors to make up for Garvo Lanete’s Game 1 struggles.
“Big Chill did a good defensive job on Garvo,” said Fernandez. “But they can’t contain him for long. Garvo is a smart player and I’m sure he’ll find a way to score in Game 2.”
The typically reliable Lanete, who’s also the team’s leading scorer, wound up with only four points on a paltry 1-of-8 shooting.
Although the Superchargers came close to wiping out the Road Warriors’ 15-point advantage, coach Robert Sison doesn’t want a repeat of their poor start.
“NLEX was able to dictate and control the game,” said Sison. “We cannot play catch up basketball and expect to steal a win in the end.”
Reil Cervantes paced the Superchargers in Game 1 with 17 points, while Brian Heruela collected 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. “We have to keep our defensive mindset and match their intensity,” said Fernandez.