MANILA, Philippines - NLEX used a big third quarter run to blast EA Regen, 103-86, yesterday and secure the first outright semifinal berth in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.
Nico Salva tallied 19 points and Greg Slaughter came off the bench and fired 16 markers as the Road Warriors broke away from a tight first half and pulled away in the third en route to posting their eighth straight victory and an outright spot in the semis.
Earlier, Cebuana Lhuillier defeated Cagayan Valley, 63-54, to stay in playoff contention.
Jelo Montecastro and Raymund Aguilar scored 13 points apiece while June Dizon had a double-double game of 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Gems tied the Rising Suns, the Big Chill Superchargers and Team Delta at the close of the elims at 6-5.
The remaining quarterfinal berths will be determined at the close of the elims tomorrow. All ties will be resolved by quotients.
"I thought Greg made the difference in this game," said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
He said Slaughter, who missed the Road Warriors first nine games, showed up in practice last Saturday and told the team he was ready to play for the playoffs.
"The team really appreciated his gesture. I think he’ll make us better in the playoffs," said Fernandez.
After eight deadlocks and 15 lead changes, the Road Warriors went on a 9-0 run to take the lead for good. NLEX led, 50-45, at halftime but raced to a 76-64 lead at the end of the third.