BORGIE Hermida had a double-double effort as court general to lift NLEX to an 87-63 win over Cagayan Valley and a step closer to a fourth straight league title in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Blue Eagle Gym.
Hermida finally made an impact after anemic performances in recent games, scoring 10 points and issuing 11 assists to help lead the Road Warriors to within a win of wrapping up the best-of-three series.
The former San Beda point guard had six points in a second-quarter run that saw NLEX pull away for a 49-35 halftime lead. The Road Warriors outscored the Rising Suns, 21-11, in the third for a 70-46 advantage.
NLEX, which came off a scintillating series with Jose Rizal University in the semifinals, can wrap up the series on Tuesday afternoon at the San Juan Arena.
A major concern prior to the series was NLEX players’ energy, but the Road Warriors went off to a fine start, jumped out to an early 22-12 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
“We just came in with much more energy,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. “We started well kaya siguro bumaba na ang energy nila (Cagayan Valley). But I’m sure they will be back.”
The Road Warriors came out firing on all cylinders, hitting 33 of 65 shots to frustrate the Rising Suns, who could only come up with 22-of-68 from the field.
Even with the lopsided win, Fernandez and the rest of the Road Warriors aren’t relaxing for Game Two.
“We still have to wrap it up. We have to prepare for Tuesday,” said Fernandez.
Ian Sangalang had 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks for the Road Warriors, while Greg Slaughter came back from a shoulder injury to contribute 11 points.
Nico Salva and Garvo Lanete each had 10 markers for the Road Warriors.
Eliud Poligrates finished the game with 15 points, while Joshua Webb had 11 markers. Mark Bringas had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Cagayan Valley.
NLEX (87) – Sangalang 15, Slaughter 11, Salva 10, Hermida 10, Lanete 10, Long 9, Garcia 6, Amer 5, J. Pascual 4, Ganuelas 2, Alas 2, Sumalinog 2, Camson 1, R. Pascual 0.
Cagayan Valley (63) – Poligrates 15, Webb 11, Bringas 11, Almazan 8, Lao 7, Forrester 4, Exciminiano 4, Celada 3, Pasculado 0, Cruz 0, Canta 0, Melano 0, Montemayor 0.
Quarterscores: 26-21; 49-35; 70-46; 87-63.