Surging NLEX Road Warriors gain piece of PBA D-League lead | Inquirer Sports

Surging NLEX Road Warriors gain piece of PBA D-League lead

By: - Reporter / @jwpayoINQ
/ 09:04 PM December 13, 2011

Cliff Hodge of NLEX gets hacked from behind by Eric Camson of Freego. INQUIRER PHOTO/ August dela Cruz

MANILA, Philippines—A more focused NLEX squad has started to find its groove.

Drawing a big game from Clifford Hodge, the streaking Road Warriors spoiled Freego Jeans’ bid to reclaim a share of the lead, 76-59, Tuesday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the San Juan Gym.

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The Filipino-American Hodge only missed twice in 11 attempts for a game-high 24 points, highlighted by a breakaway slam that gave the Road Warriors their first twin-digit lead, 59-49, early in the fourth quarter.

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Calvin Abueva also finished just a rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine boards to help lift the Road Warriors to their fourth straight victory for a 5-1 record.

“We have to make a statement because we’re playing Freego who are really playing as a team right now,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. “I’m happy with the way the guys played and responded to our game plan.”

The win also boosted the defending champions’ bid for one of the two outright semifinal berths, where Cebuana Lhuillier (7-1), Freego Jeans (6-2) and Big Chill (6-3) are also in contention.

Earlier, Cobra Energy Drink snapped out of a winless campaign with a 62-60 escape over Dub Unlimited.

Robby Zablan nailed a free throw with 9.4 ticks left, 61-60, before Jairold Flores grabbed a rebound on the other end after Dub’s Jeric Teng misfired.

Flores, who also fetched a foul in the same play, knocked in another freebie with just five-tenths of a second remaining for the final tally.

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Jam Cortes posted a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Iron Men, who wound up tied with their victims at 1-7.

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“We’re just fortunate they (Wheelers) ran into a maze of turnovers in the stretch and we capitalized on that,” said Cobra coach Jerry Codiñera.
The scores:
First Game
COBRA 62—Cortes 15, Noble 12, Zablan 8, Casajeros 7, Cubo 6, Enguio 5, Flores 5, Stevens 2, Sumido 2, Nimes 0, Tagarda 0.
DUB 60—Villahermosa 17, Teng 9, Pascual 8, Aguilar 7, Gomez 6, Leynes 6, Zamar 3, Hugnatan 2, Bustos 2, Bolos 0, Melegrito 0.
Quarters: 13-14, 30-30, 39-49, 62-60
Second Game
NLEX 76—Hodge 24, Abueva 14, Garcia 9, Lanete 7, Ellis 7, Marcelo 6, Sangalang 6, Monfort 3, Co 0, Dehesa 0, Belencion 0.
FREEGO 59—Alvarez 18, Camson 17, Lozada 6, Monteclaro 4. Nuyles 3, Lopez 2, Apinan 2, Cabrera 2, Brondial 2, Austria 2, Manyara 1, Sumalinog 0, Elinon 0.
Quarters: 11-10, 33-27, 55-49, 76-59

TAGS: Basketball, Boyet Fernandez, Calvin Abueva, Cliff Hodge, Cobra Energy Ironmen, Dub Unlimited Wheelers, Freego Jeans, Jeric Teng, NLEX Road Warriors, PBA D-League, Sports

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