NLEX is one victory away from another trip to the finals after a 70-60 victory over Cebuana Lhuillier on Thursday in Game One of their PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinal showdown at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Road Warriors capped off the first half with seven straight points and held on to keep their record spotless.
Game Two is on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena where the Road Warriors will look to seal their seventh consecutive finals appearance.
Several mini-runs by Cebuana Lhuillier kept the game close, with the Gems pulling to within four points, 59-55, on a 6-0 run with 2:11 left in the fourth but NLEX was able to survive.
The teams combined for 56 fouls, with NLEX making 27 of 41 attempts from the free throw line.
“Highly-physical game but I credit my boys even though they were getting bullied there and there is no call. But still they remained focused in the game,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
“Even though Cebuana came back, we stepped up or offense and defense,” Fernandez added.
Ola Adeogun had 11 points and 13 rebounds, while Jake Pascual and Garvo Lanete also scored 11 for the Road Warriors, whose second quarter finish led to a 35-23 lead at the half.
Alvin Padilla carried the Cebuana Lhuillier fight in the fourth period, finishing with 15 points. Gab Banal added 13 markers.
NLEX (70) – J. Pascual 11, Adeogun 11, Lanete 11, Alas 10, Dela Rosa 8, Amer 7, Ganuelas 4, Dela Cruz 2, Long 2, K. Pascual 2, R. Pascual 2, Raymundo 0.
Cebuana Lhuillier (60) – Padilla 15, G. Banal 13, Gamalinda 11, Arellano 7, Acibar 4, Ilad 4, Mangahas 3, Paredes 2, J. Banal 1, Leynes 0, Zamar 0, Sarangay 0.
Quarterscores: 16-10, 35-23, 50-45, 70-60.