GREG Slaughter scored seven points in the crucial fourth quarter as NLEX overcame a sluggish start to beat Big Chill, 66-59, on Tuesday in Game One of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals at the Blue Eagle Gym.
Slaughter finished with just eight points and four blocks in the game but made an impact in the final period for the Road Warriors, who upped their defense a notch and held Big Chill scoreless in the first four minutes of the fourth.
NLEX will try to sweep the semifinal series and continue its bid for a fifth straight crown on Thursday also at the Blue Eagle Gym.
The Road Warriors were clearly rusty after a two-week break, scoring just eight points in the first period. But Big Chill failed to capitalize and came up with only 10 markers.
“We are rusty, we are not ourselves. We had so many turnovers and we missed so many foul shots. But I’m just happy that we got out with the win. It’s an ugly win,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
“But credit to Greg, he didn’t want to lose,” Fernandez added.
Slaughter’s undergoal stab capped a 9-0 run to start the fourth for a 56-45 advantage, helping avert Big Chill’s upset bid. NLEX held a 62-49 lead with 1:35 left in the fourth.
The Superchargers, who stunned second-ranked Fruitas in the semifinals, had tied the game late in the third but Eric Camson scored and helped NLEX take a 47-45 lead in to the final period.
“It’s now a challenge for us to finish (the series) off,” Fernandez said.
Kirk Long scored 14 points, while Jake Pascual had a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Road Warriors. RR Garcia also had 10 points.
Terrence Romeo finished with 21 points while Jeckster Apinan added 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Superchargers.
NLEX (66) – Long 14, J. Pascual 10, Garcia 10, Slaughter 8, R. Pascual 5, Camson 5, Lanete 5, Alas 4, Salva 3, Ganuelas 2, Villarias 0, Amer 0, Hermida 0, Taganas 0.
Big Chill (59) – Romeo 21, Apinan 11, Canlas 7, Bringas 6, Villahermosa 6, Holstein 4, Montilla 2, Santos 2, Heruela 0, Dumapig 0, Lozada 0.
Quarterscores: 8-10; 27-20; 47-45; 66-59.