NLEX stretched its streak to seven games and seized the solo lead after a 96-64 trouncing of hapless Informatics on Thursday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
After sitting in the cellar with back-to-back losses to start the season, the four-time champions are back in a familiar place — on top of the team standings.
With a 7-2 win-loss record, the Road Warriors took over from Blackwater Sports, which now has a 7-3 card after an 89-96 defeat to Boracay Rum.
The Road Warriors are also now just a win away from clinching an outright semifinal berth.
“Magandang panalo ito,” said NLEX assistant coach Adonis Tierra, who handled the shots for Boyet Fernandez. The NLEX head coach is still in the United States for San Beda’s annual training before the NCAA season.
“Ang sabi ko sa kanila, must-win itong game na ito,” said Tierra.
RR Garcia had 18 points for the Road Warriors while Nico Salva added 15. Jake Pascual had 12 points and nine rebounds as Eric Camson added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Informatics remained winless in 10 games.
The Road Warriors took a 39-25 lead at halftime and didn’t let up, widening the gap to 92-58 with less than two minutes left in the game.
Standings: NLEX 7-2; Blackwater 7-3; Fruitas 6-3; Cagayan Valley 6-4; EA Regen Medical Group 6-4; Boracay Rum 6-4; Big Chill 6-5; Cebuana Lhuillier 5-5; Cafe France 5-5; Jumbo Plastic 4-6; Hog's Breath Cafe 1-8; Informatics 0-10.
NLEX (96) – Garcia 18, Salva 15, J. Pascual 12, Camson 12, Ganuelas 9, Hermida 9, R. Pascual 8, Villarias 7, Alas 4, Long 2, Calamot 0, Taganas 0.
Informatics (64) – Montuano 15, Acidre 10, Benitez 7, Mabayo 7, Melegrito 6, Morales 5, Ablaza 4, Gamboa 4, Altamirano 3, Ibay 2, Acuna 1.
Quarterscores: 18-10; 39-25; 68-40; 96-64.