NLEX clinched a return trip to the PBA D-League Foundation Cup finals after defeating Blackwater Sports, 82-72, completing a sweep of their semifinal series on Tuesday at the San Juan Gym.
Calvin Abueva led the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Road Warriors reached the finals for the third consecutive conference.
But it was the defensive effort of the Road Warriors that proved the difference as they held the Elite scoreless in the first six minutes of the fourth period.
The Road Warriors won 86-77 in Game One.
“Blackwater pushed us to the limit again. They made us work for every point. We’re just lucky we made big shots in the fourth,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. “We also played good defense in the second half."
Blackwater Sports held a 58-57 advantage after Paul Zamar's four-point play late in the third but NLEX finished the quarter with a five-point swing built around a three-pointer by Kirk Long for a 62-58 advantage entering the fourth.
The Road Warriors were never threatened again as they outscored the Elite, 20-14, in the fourth.