Cliff Hodge buried a crucial three-pointer with less than a minute to play as NLEX nearly saw its 24-point lead slip away before holding on to defeat Erase Plantcenta, 85-76, Thursday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Road Warriors pushed its unbeaten run to six games and remained on top of the team standings but not before weathering some anxious moments in the fourth quarter.
NLEX was holding a 64-40 lead in the third period but Erase Plantcenta went on a 21-6 run with a Macky Acosta basket cutting the Road Warriors’ lead down to just two points, 76-74.
But Hodge came up big for NLEX as he turned a botched play into the game-changer as he made a three-pointer with 58.7 seconds left to stop the Erasers’ torrid run.
Hodge finished the game with 18 points and nine rebounds for the Road Warriors.
“Credit to Erase Plantcenta. They really played. They were physical and we didn’t execute our press break that’s why we had a lot of turnovers. Hopefully, we can learn our lessons here and prepare for the next games to come,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
Kirk Long and Ford Arao each had 15 points while Garvo Lanete added 10 for the Road Warriors, who once again missed the services of Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang due to their commitments with their mother team San Sebastian Stags.
Allan Mangahas had nine of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead Erase Plantcenta’s comeback but they came up short. Erase dropped its win-loss record to 2-4.
Acosta had 13 points while June Dizon added 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Erasers. Andretti Stevens scored 11 points.
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