NLEX Road Warriors cruise to finals | Inquirer Sports
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NLEX Road Warriors cruise to finals

By: - Reporter / @jwpayoINQ
/ 10:55 PM January 31, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—Flashing its vaunted firepower, NLEX came out charging from the get-go and crushed Big Chill, 89-60, Tuesday to claim the last title berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

RR Garcia and Calvin Abueva led a relentless attack on both ends with the Road Warriors taking a double-digit lead after the first seven minutes and stretching the advantage to as many as 40, 79-39, early in the last period.

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“We learned our lesson in Game 2, that even though we’re up, there’s no safe lead,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. “I told [the team] we’re not looking back, we’re looking forward. So when we were up by 25, we just kept on going.”

The Road Warriors hope to sustain their fiery form when NLEX takes on Freego Jeans in the best-of-three title series starting tomorrow.

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Garcia pumped in 16 points, including seven in a 13-3 start that laid out the groundwork for the lopsided do-or-die duel that NLEX forged by taking Game 2, 69-62, after losing the opener of the best-of-three series, 66-83.

Returning from a one-game suspension he served in Game 2, Abueva also came out strong off the bench to finish with 16 points and eight rebounds.

“I talked to Calvin and told him his teammates stepped up for him in Game 2,” said Fernandez. “So I told him it’s up to you to prove that you can come back in Game 3”

The Road Warriors kicked off the second period with a 12-0 burst, half from Fil-Am standout Chris Ellis, and stormed to a 24-point spread, 34-10. The lead went up to 25 at the half, 43-18.

“In the first game we really controlled our emotions, thinking they’ll (Superchargers) play physical and rough,” said Fernandez. “I just let them play in Game 2, and in Game 3, they just gave everything.”

Ellis shot 12 points.

“We’ll take this experience and use it in the future,” Big Chill coach Arsenio Dysangco said of his overachieving Superchargers. “I’m still happy for the team, the way we played in the series.”

The scores:
NLEX 89—Garcia 16, Abueva 16, Ellis 12, Sangalang 8, Marcelo 8, Hodge 8, Lanete 6, Monfort 6, Hermida 5, Dehesa 2, Co 2, Arao 0, Belencion 0.
BIG CHILL 60—Reyes 16, Custodio 11, Maconocido 9, Collado 7, Jensen 4, Ponferrada 4, Dizon 4, Tan 3, Mallari 2, Galinato 0, Santos 0, Gorioso 0.
Quarters: 22-10, 43-18, 71-37, 89-60

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TAGS: Basketball, Big Chill Superchargers, Boyet Fernandez, Freego Jeans, NLEX Road Warriors, PBA D-League, Sports
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