NLEX is one victory away from an elimination round sweep after defeating Cebuana Lhuillier, 76-68, on Tuesday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the JCSGO gym in Quezon City.
Ronald Pascual had 14 points, while Ola Adeogun added 12 as the two combined for 13 of NLEX’s 22 points in the final period to stave off the Gems’ upset bid.
NLEX, which had earlier secured one of two automatic semifinal berths, now has eight wins.
“I gave my boys a break since we already reached our goal of reaching the semifinals. Cebuana played tough against us. Now, we are out to sweep the eliminations,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
The Gems (5-4), despite the defeat, are still very much in contention for an outright semifinal slot as they play Blackwater Sports (4-3) on Monday. They can still have the second spot if Jumbo Plastic loses to Big Chill in the second game being played at posting time.
Cebuana Lhuillier threatened all game long, with Brian Ilad giving the Gems a 57-56 lead early in the fourth period.
But Pascual hit a triple and Adeogun followed with a putback to put the Road Warriors up by six points, 68-62.
Paul Zamar cut NLEX’s lead to 70-67 with 1:28 left in the fourth but Pascual and Adeogun secured the win by scoring the Road Warriors’ final six points.
NLEX (76) – R. Pascual 14, Adeogun 12, Lanete 12, Amer 9, Alas 7, Dela Rosa 6, Long 5, K. Pascual 4, Ganuelas 3, Dela Cruz 2, J. Pascual 2, Raymundo 0.
Cebuana Lhuillier (68) – Zamar 15, G. Banal 11, Arellano 10, Gamalinda 10, Ilad 9, Martinez 5, Mangahas 3, Paredes 2, Leynes 2, Acibar 1, J. Banal 0, Sarangay 0, Padilla 0.
Quarterscores: 21-19; 40-31; 54-52; 76-68.