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Road Warriors force do-or-die duel with Super chargers


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"The boys maintained composure even if Big Chill managed to snatch the lead" -- Fernandez

MANILA, Philippines – Defending champion NLEX exhibited its superiority in the end game, forcing a rubber match in the 2011-2012 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup best-of-three Semis series with Big Chill.

The Road Warriors led by as much as 24, 51-27 midway in the third period on a short stab from Ian Sangalang. NLEX ended with an impressive 69-62 finish at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig Thursday, January 26.

But a 16-2 blistering run in the second half of the third paved the way for the Superchargers to come within 10, 43-53. Jewel Ponferrada and Fil-American Alex Mallari teamed up for that decisive blast that brought Big Chill back in the game. They combined for 11 of the 16 points scored by the Superchargers.

In the fourth, another Fil-American and PBA hopeful Keith Jensen took over as he, alongside Mallari, ignited another 13-3 run that pushed the Superchargers within two, 54-56 with 4:37 left in the game clock.

Veteran Raymond Maconocido schooled NLEX’s Emman Monfort after sinking a medium-range shot plus a foul at the 3:57 mark. Maconocido’s bucket tied the count at 56-all. Big Chill finally tasted the lead for the first time after the former San Sebastian guard completed his three-point play, 57-56.

All heart

NLEX Head Coach Boyet Fernandez said, “We just played our game. I credit the boys for sticking to our system. The boys maintained composure even if Big Chill managed to snatch the lead. We even led by 24 but thanks to the solid production of my players, especially RR Garcia and Ian Sangalang who gave quality numbers today.”

A scoop shot from Garcia gave the Road Warriors the lead back, 58-57, with 3:33 remaining.

Down the stretch, it was again the duo of Sangalang and Garcia who separated NLEX from the Superchargers as they combined for 10 of the last 13 points of the Road Warriors.

On the other hand, Coach Arsenio Dysanco of Big Chill still commended his boys for not giving up and for playing with all heart after giving the Road Warriors quite a scare in the dying seconds.

Both teams will not take a breather as they will return to practice tomorrow in preparation for their winner-take-all match happening next Tuesday, January 31 also at the Ynares Sports Arena.


Fernandez added, “We came back even with a small margin. I hope we can sustain this. May tiwala naman ako sa players ko because they have the character.”

In the first half, the Road Warriors mounted several double digit leads, the biggest at 23 at 41-18, following Garcia’s triple before the intermission.

Big Chill was also held scoreless for almost a quarter as Ponferrada scored their last basket at the 4:11 of the first. Jessie Collado’s split charities at the 5:08 mark finally woke up the scoring slumber of the Superchargers.

Cliff Hodge finished with a double double of 11 points and 12 boards but it was Sangalang who led the scoring with 21 markers.

Ponferrada and Mallari also turned in quality performances for Big Chill with the former finishing with 14 markers and 13 boards while the latter had 11 and 11 boards.

Box Scores:

NLEX (69) — Sangalang 21, Garcia 15, Hodge 11, Lanete 10, Ellis 4, Hermida 2, Arao 2, Monfort 2, Marcelo 1, Co 1.

Big Chill (62) — Ponferrada 14, Jensen 12, Mallari 11, Reyes 8, Collado 7, Custodio 5, Maconocido 3, Dizon 2, Santos 0, Glorioso 0, Tan 0.

Quarter Scores: 21-9, 41-20, 53-43, 69-62. – Rappler.com

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