NLEX, Boracay shoot for D-League top spot
MANILA, Philippines — Hoping to recover from slow starts, NLEX and Boracay Rum dispute the early lead in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at Trinity University of Asia gym in Quezon City.
The Road Warriors and the Waves, who both staged a furious finish to clinch opening-day wins, go for back-to-back triumphs at 2 p.m., while Cafe France also shoots for a 2-0 lead versus Hog’s Breath Cafe at 4 p.m.
Boracay Rum coach Lawrence Chongson said his Waves’ 79-69 victory over Cagayan Valley, where they came back from 19 points down, proved to be a good test for his beefed-up squad.
“Maybe it’s due to the entry of our new players that’s why we had a slow start,” said Chongson. “It was a test of character.”
Filipino-Italian guard Chris Banchero starred with 22 points and drew able support from former University of the East guard Rudy Lingganay, one of the Waves’ four new recruits.
NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez also thinks the Road Warriors shouldn’t have gone through an early scare against Blackwater Sports had they played better defense.
“The players were relaxed at the start,” Fernandez said of his Road Warriors, who are vying for their sixth championship in seven conferences.
The Road Warriors rallied last Tuesday behind Garvo Lanete, Kevin Alas and Art dela Cruz before taking a 102-84 win over the Elite, the tournament’s defending champion.
Although the Waves are bannered by the pro-ready Banchero, the Road Warriors remain favored with their star-studded crew that also include Jake Pascual, Matt Ganuelas, Ola Adeogun, Ronald Pascual, Kirk Long and Baser Amer.
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