NLEX used several mini-runs in the final period to hold off Cebuana Lhuilller, 89-76, and finish its elimination-round schedule on a high in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup on Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Holding on to a slim 66-65 lead, the three-time defending champion scored seven straight points to create some breathing room, 73-65, with 8:22 left in the final canto.
Gab Banal went on his own six-point blast to cut down Cebuana’s deficit to 73-77, but powerhouse NLEX went on a 12-3 run capped by a Kevin Alas basket that sealed the outcome of the game as the Road Warriors cruised to their ninth win in 10 games.
“I’m so happy, this win fortifies our No. 1 position,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
RR Garcia came up with 15 points, Garvo Lanete added 14 and Ian Sangalang chipped in 10 for the Road Warriors, while Jake Pascual finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.
“I give credit to the boys, they really wanted to win,” he added.
Raymond Aguilar had 17 markers, while Jopher Custodio and June Dizon added 13 and 12 points, respectively, as Cebuana Lhuillier suffered its fourth loss in seven outings.
NLEX 89 - Garcia 15, Lanete 14, Sangalang 10, Slaughter 9, Pascual 7, Long 7, Salva 6, Alas 6, Pascual 5, Camson 5, Amer 3, Ganuelas 2, Hermida 0.
Cebuana Lhuillier 76 - Aguilar 17, Custodio 13, Dizon 12, Sanga 8, Zamar 7, Banal 6, Buensuceso 5, Mangahas 3, Bautista 3, Sarangay 2, Rowe 0, Tagarda 0, Suguitan 0, Mabayo 0.
Quarterscores: 23-20; 48-42; 66-62; 89-76.