NLEX returned to top of the PBA D-League as the Road Warriors defeated Big Chill, 88-70, to sweep the Aspirants Cup Finals on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Road Warriors used a telling third-quarter run on their way to sweeping the best-of-three championship series against the Superchargers.
The win was NLEX’s fifth championship in the developmental league, made sweeter after bouncing back from last conference’s defeat to Blackwater Sports in the Foundation Cup.
“I’m happy that we got this redemption,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
Garvo Lanete was adjudged the conference Most Valuable Player.
Jake Pascual had nine of his 17 points in the third quarter where NLEX began the rout. Pascual had four points in the Road Warriors’ 11-2 blast to pull away after they led, 41-39, at halftime.
NLEX ended the third quarter with a 72-52 lead but there was no let-up as the Road Warriors continued to pounce on the Superchargers.
“Even though we were up by so many points, I talked to my players that the lesson that we learned last conference is nandoon pa rin which is play hard until the end,” Fernandez said.
Pascual also had 15 rebounds and four blocks, while Ola Adeogun added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Lanete had 10 points in Game Two after scoring just four in the series opener.
Big Chill lost to NLEX via sweep for the second time after also bowing to the Road Warriors in the 2012 Aspirants Cup.
Dexter Maiquez had 18 points while Jeckster Apinan tallied 10 markers for Big Chill.
NLEX (88) – J. Pascual 17, Adeogun 12, Lanete 10, Dela Cruz 9, Ganuelas 8, Alas 8, Dela Rosa 7, R. Pascual 7, K. Pascual 4, Long 3, Hermida 3, Raymundo 0.
Big Chill (70) – Maiquez 18, Apinan 10, Baloria 9, Heruela 9, Cervantes 5, Mirza 5, Belleza 5, Brondial 5, Lozada 3, Canlas 1, Villahermosa 0, Santos 0, Miranda 0.
Quarterscores: 21-22; 41-39; 72-52; 88-70.