GREG Slaughter returned to NLEX in a big way as the Road Warriors beat EA Regen Medical Group, 103-86, on Tuesday to clinch the No. 1 spot in the semifinals of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Back in the lineup after finishing commitments in school and the national team, Slaughter had nine of his 16 points in the second half as he helped the Road Warriors turn the game into a lopsided contest.
NLEX registered their eighth straight win and clinched an outright semifinal berth with the victory.
Slaughter also held his own against the Regens’ twin towers of former NLEX cager Ian Sangalang and Raymund Almazan.
“Greg wants to play and he said that he is ready to help his team,” said Fernandez, who arrived on Tuesday after joining San Beda in its United States training in his capacity as head coach.
“I really appreciate the effort of the guy. He was the difference in this game,” he added.
Slaughter backstopped an NLEX pullaway, scoring the first four points of an 8-2 run to turn a 56-52 advantage into a 64-56 contest.
The Road Warriors racked up six straight points to finish the third period ahead, 76-64. NLEX continued to pounce on EA Regen in the fourth as it became an 86-66 lead on back-to-back baskets by Kevin Alas.
Nico Salva topscored for the Road Warriors with 19 points while Kirk Long and Eric Camson chipped in with 14 apiece.
The loss sent EA Regen Medical Group to a four-way tie for fifth place with a 6-5 win-loss slate along with Big Chill, Cebuana Lhuillier, and Cagayan Valley.
The third to sixth placers advance to the quarterfinals.
The Road Warriors were determined to win against the Regens, but not because Sangalang was on the other side.
“Gusto lang namin manalo to make sure that we are No. 1,” said Fernandez.
Jimbo Aquino led the Regens with 18 points including three triples, Sangalang had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Almazan had 10 points and 15 rebounds.
NLEX (103) – Salva 19, Slaughter 16, Long 14, Camson 14, Villarias 9, Alas 7, R. Pascual 6, Hermida 6, Garcia 6, J. Pascual 4, Ganuelas 2.
EA Regen Medical Group (86) – Aquino 18, Sangalang 17, Nuyles 12, Juico 10, Almazan 10, Bautista 6, Miranda 4, Maiquez 4, Terso 3, Tolentino 2, Allen 0, Del Rio 0.
Quarterscores: 24-24; 50-45; 76-64; 103-86.