NLEX-Big Chill KO tiff today; Calvin Abueva returns
MANILA, Philippines—NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez hopes his top-seeded Road Warriors won’t put to waste their near-perfect run in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
With the fiery Calvin Abueva back from suspension, the Road Warriors aim to dispatch Big Chill in the winner-take-all Game 3 of their semifinal duel at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
“[Game 3] is a player’s game,” said Fernandez. “Calvin will be back and we’ll be in full force.If we play the same way we did [in Game 2], it will be a rugged and tough match up against Big Chill. Hopefully, we can get back at them again.”
The winner of the sudden-death will advance to the best-of-three championship series against Freego Jeans, which scored an upset semifinal sweep of No. 2 Cebuana Lhuillier.
Bidding for back-to-back crowns, the Road Warriors survived early elimination when RR Garcia and Ian Sangalang rescued the squad from an end-game collapse against the rallying Superchargers, 69-62, in Game 2.
“Pressure doesn’t usually lie with the underdogs,” said coach Arsenio Dysangco, whose Superchargers just fell short after rising from a 24-point deficit in last Thursday’s thriller.
“We’re just going to play hard and give our best. We’ve worked hard … and somehow have earned the respect of fans and pundits. We have nothing to lose.”
With Jewel Ponferrada, Jessie Collado and Alex Mallari at the helm, the overachieving Superchargers shocked the Road Warriors in a Game 1 rout, 83-66.
Abueva returns after getting slapped with a one-game suspension for committing a flagrant foul category 2.