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    NLEX hopes to shake off rust in semis debut

    May 27, 2013

    THE NLEX Road Warriors hope the long break won't affect their game when they begin their semifinal showdown against Big Chill on Tuesday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Blue Eagle Gym.

    The Road Warriors face the Superchargers at 2 p.m. for the opener of their short best-of-three series - a good 12 days after the reigning champions beat Jumbo Plastic, 81-70, in their final game of the eliminations.

    NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez is seeking a fifth straight championship for the team, but believes Big Chill will be a tough team to beat.

    “This is a dream match-up,” said Fernandez, whose team won nine straight games following a slow 0-2 start. “But the long break is my only worry. Other than that, we are ready to play.”

    In the other semifinal pairing, Boracay Rum hopes to continue its surprising run when it faces second-seed Blackwater Sports at 4 p.m.

    Fernandez believes the team that will play excellent defense will win the series.

    “This will be a close series. Whoever makes stops in the end will make it to the Finals,” he said.

    Big Chill coach Robert Sison said the team's defense on NLEX center Greg Slaughter will dictate how the Superchargers will fare in the series.

    “Any way I look at it, we don’t have any advantage over NLEX. That team is complete in all positions and anyone in their lineup can dominate the game,” said Sison.

    "So we have to work doubly hard and must have a really good game plan especially on defense to limit their offensive attacks."

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    Meanwhile, the Waves and Elite are both raring to make it to the Finals after disappointing finishes in previous conferences.

    The Waves, who won three straight games en route to the semifinal round, reached the semifinals for the first time since the Asia Brewery franchise moved from the defunct Philippine Basketball League to the D-League.

    Blackwater Sports on the other hand, tabbed the outright semifinal incentive for the second consecutive conference, although the Elite lost to Cagayan Valley in their Final Four match-up in the last Foundation Cup.

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