NLEX assured itself of at least a berth in the quarterfinal round while continuing its hot pursuit for a top two outright semifinals slot defeating Cebuana Lhuillier, 76-63, Thursday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Arena in Pasig.
Cliff Hodge had an all-around effort of 20 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks while Garvo Lanete added 13 points for the Road Warriors, who romped to their fifth victory in as many tries.
The Road Warriors played sans Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang, who joined the San Sebastian Stags for training in the United States in preparation for the NCAA.
“We just fortified our position in the top one. We are just trying to hold fort, try to win every game and once they come back, we will be solid again,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
NLEX earned a 27-19 lead in the first quarter, then opened the second with a 21-2 run including 11 straight points to begin the pull away from Cebuana Lhuillier.
The Gems slid to a 3-2 win-loss record and played their first game without head coach Luigi Trillo, who has been appointed as interim coach of the Alaska Aces. Team manager Beaujing Acot took over the reins on the bench.
Vic Manuel led the Gems with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Pari Llagas and Lester Alvarez added 11 points each.
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