MANILA, Philippines - NLEX buried Big Chill with a barrage of baskets in the first half and went on to demolish the other erstwhile unbeaten team, 91-67, and record its sixth straight victory in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Thursday.
NCAA MVP Ian Sanggalang came off the bench to fire 20 points while Jake Pascual dished out a double-double effort of 13 points and 10 rebounds as the defending champions dispatched the Superchargers with relative ease.
“In the previous five games, our defense was suspect. But they (Road Warriors) committed to playing defense and I thought they did very, very well,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
Earlier, Carlo Lastimosa scored a career-high 30 points and Fruitas bounced back from a 19-point loss against NLEX last week to stun Erase Xfoliant, 78-73.
The Road Warriors took control from the start with their excellent shooting and were never threatened after posting a 46-29 bulge at halftime.
NLEX outscored Big Chill, 20-12 in the first quarter and 26-17 in the second with the Warriors finishing with an impressive 56 percent shooting from the field (21 of 37) in the first half.
“I thought the guys were motivated by the absence of Greg (Slaughter), (Nico) Salva and (Oping) Sumalinog,” said Fernandez, referring to his three ace players who suited up for Ateneo in the Philippine Collegiate Championship League finals.
Eric Camson scored 12 points and Borguie Hermida added 11 markers for the Road Warriors, who have defeated the Superchargers in their last five meetings while stretching their winning streak to 22-games dating back to the semifinals of this tournament last Jan. 30.
Terrence Romeo led Big Chill with 19 points while Mac Montilla added 15 and Jessie Collado contributed 11 markers and Arvie Bringas had 10 rebounds for the Superchargers, who dropped to 4-1.
The Shakers struggled on both ends without 6-8 Nigerian center Ola Adeogun and needed to grind it out in the stretch to nail their second win in five games. Adeaogun missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle he sustained in their 64-69 loss against Blackwater Sports last week.