The NLEX Road Warriors are back in the PBA D-League finals after sweeping Blackwater Sports in their Foundation Cup semifinals Tuesday at the San Juan Gym.
Calvin Abueva scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead NLEX to the 82-72 victory as the defending champions kept their perfect streak alive.
The Road Warriors once again used a fourth quarter run to turn back the Elite.
“They’re a tough team,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. “They made us work for every point. We’re lucky we picked up our offensive rhythm in the fourth.”
“Our defense also held up in the second half. That was huge because it prevented Blackwater from gaining momentum.”
The Road Warriors remained unbeaten in 10 games this tournament, and are now only two games away from winning their third straight D-League title.
NLEX will face the winner of the Big Chill and Cebuana Lhuillier semifinal series in the best-of-three championship.
Ian Sanggalang (13 points), Garvo Lanete (11) and Borgie Hermida (10) also played well for the Road Warriors.
AJ Mandani, David Zamar, and Robby Celiz carried the fight for Blackwater, scoring 19, 17, and 16 points, respectively.
NLEX 82 – Abueva 21, Sanggalang 13, Lanete 11, Hermida 10, Ellis 5, Co 5, Marcelo 4, Long 3, Monfort 3, Hodge 3, PAscual 2, Garcia 2.
Blackwater Sports 72 – Mandani 19, Zamar 17, Celiz 16, NAbong 7, Bringas 5, Jeffries 4, Pascual 2, G. Ciriacruz 2, BAustista 0, Fortuna 0, Camus 0.
Quarters: 23-22, 45-42; 62-58; 82-72
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