THREE-time champion NLEX bucked a horrible first half as it leaned on its airtight defense and torrid shooting in the final two quarters of the game to humble Café France, 85-62 in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup Tuesday at the Blue Eagle gym.
Borgie Hermida, Nico Salva and Garvo Lanete keyed the Road Warriors’ explosive second half, scoring on a mixture of driving layups and medium-range jumpers that turned a six-point halftime deficit into a 55-42 lead with 3:02 to go in the third period.
The Road Warriors carried on that momentum in the fourth period, unleashing a telling 18-7 bomb that all but settled the outcome of the match.
“I did challenge my guys during halftime dahil masama talaga ang start namin,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. “I’m really happy to see the boys step up beginning with Borgie and Nico, then off the bench like Eric Camson and Matt Ganuelas who played really well also.”
Though parading a shorter lineup without Greg Slaughter and Ian Sangalang, who left the team for various reasons, the Road Warriors played with a lot more fluidity against a Bakers squad that snapped NLEX’s historic 24-game winning streak in the previous conference.
The Road Warriors relied on the bruising plays of Jake Pascual who finished the game with a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Camson, a former Adamson Falcon forward, added six and 13 boards.
The loss dropped Café France into a share of second spot with idle Cebuanna Lhuillier at 4-2, leaving the Blackwater atop the standing at 5-1, following the Elite’s 72-69 win over Jumbo Plastic earlier in the day.
NLEX 85 - Hermida 17, Salva 16, Lanete 12, Pascual 10, Ganuelas 6, Camson 6, Long 5, Pascual 5, Garcia 5, Alas 2, Villarias 1, Amer 0.
Café France 62- Lpez 14, Parala 9, Abundo 9, Knuttel 8, Magat 8, Batino 7, Silungan 3, Magbitang 2, Maconocido 2, Gallardo 0, Lamosa 0.
Quarterscores: 16-14; 27-33; 60-51; 85-62.