NLEX finally regained its bearings to claim its first win in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup, clobbering newcomer Hog's Breath Café, 90-54, on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Road Warriors used a 10-0 start to make it to the win column after losing their first two games of the conference.
“It’s nice to get our first win,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. “We were starting to doubt ourselves but credit the boys because they wanted to get back to winning.”
NLEX took eighth spot with a 1-2 card, half a game behind sixth-running Cebuana Lhuillier and Boracay Rum, the team's next opponent after the Holy Week break.
The Road Warriors lost to Big Chill in their opening game, just two weeks after winning the Aspirants Cup.
NLEX had struggled without Ian Sangalang, who has moved to new team EA Regen, and Greg Slaughter, who has decided to concentrate on the national team and schoolwork.
But the Road Warriors got a needed boost in the frontline with Jake Pascual stepping up, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in his new role at center.
“Jake is one of my legit four (power forward). But I credit the guy for playing five (center). He is our only legitimate big guy,” Fernandez said.
Garvo Lanete had a game-high 18 points including five three-pointers while RR Garcia added 14 points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc for NLEX.
Borgie Hermida had only five points but was effective as court general, running the plays and dishing out 10 assists for NLEX.
Hog's Breath Café, which got 13 and 12 points apiece from Mark Pangilinan and Kevin Racal, slipped to 1-3.
NLEX (90) – Lanete 18, Garcia 14, J. Pascual 13, Salva 9, Ganuelas 8, Alas 8, R. Pascual 7, Hermida 5, Camson 4, Villarias 2, Long 2, Amer 0.
Hogs Breath Café (54) – Pangilinan 13, Racal 12, Roy 7, Belorio 7, Malinao 5, Rabalo 4, Eman 2, Robles 2, Pacquiao 2, Alguno 0, Cayabyab 0, Macasaet 0, Lima 0.
Quarterscores: 20-10; 32-22; 60-35; 90-54.