NLEX earned a historic milestone in the PBA D-League by sweeping the elimination round of the Foundation Cup with a 72-55 win over Boracay Rum on the final day of the eliminations last Thursday at the Treston Gym in Taguig City.
Already assured of an outright spot in the semifinals, the Road Warriors played to their usual form to clinch their ninth victory in as many outings to finish the elimination round undefeated, a first in the three-conference-old league.
“We are already assured of a semifinal berth but we still went out and play to win. That shows the character of the team. They want to strive for excellence,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
Cliff Hodge had 20 points and 11 rebounds while Calvin Abueva added 18 points and 13 rebounds for NLEX, which will face either fourth-ranked Blackwater Sports or fifth-seed RnW Pacific Pipes in the semifinals.
The Road Warriors got off to another stellar start as they led, 20-11, in the first period. NLEX pulled away by outscoring the Waves, 22-12, in the second quarter for a 42-23 halftime lead en route to the lopsided victory.
The loss sent Boracay Rum reeling as the Waves were eliminated from the quarterfinals with Café France gaining the playoff spot by virtue of a superior quotient over Boracay Rum, Erase Plantcenta and Junior Powerade. The teams finished the elimination round in a four-way tie for sixth place with a 3-6 win-loss slate.
Toto Bandaying had 19 points while Stephen Siruma added 13 for Boracay Rum.
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