It’s destiny: Road Warriors face Freego Jeans in the Finals

Mia Domingo
The NLEX Road Warriors rout the Big Chill Superchargers 89-60 to face Freego Jeans in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup Best-of-3 Finals.

MANILA, Philippines — The defending champions, the NLEX Road Warriors, looked fierce and fiesty from tipoff – racing all the way to an 89-60 rout of the Big Chill Superchargers.  With the win, the Road Warriors booked the second seat in the Best-of-3 Finals. They will face Freego Jeans in the 2011-2012 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup starting Thursday, February 2 at the Ynares Sports Arena.

Early Start

The Road Warriors limited the Superchargers to single-digit output in the first ten minutes of action – a similar performance from their Game 2 encounter. RR Garcia and returnee Calvin Abueva combined for 17 early points to leave Big Chill behind. A 10-0 blast pushed the Road Warriors to their first double-digit lead at 13-3, with 3:53 remaining in the quarter.

Energized

After twenty minutes of action, the defending champions – behind Filipino-Americans Chris Ellis and Cliff Hodge, further extended their lead to 25, 43-18. The Superchargers were clearly caught flat-footed, failing to notice what hit them.

At the half, Abueva already had 11 points to his name. Clearly, he sorely missed playing in Game 2 and poured out his frustrations early.

Blackout

Big Chill’s performance left much to be desired – Alex Mallari and Jervy Glorioso were checked. Jewel Ponferrada, who went into foul trouble early, had only four points. They failed to limit the main gunner of the Road Warriors in RR Garcia.

According to Big Chill, one of the reasons why they lost last Thursday is because they didn’t have all the scouting reports needed. Before the game, the Superchargers said they would give it their all but it seems they stepped into the court unprepared for battle.

The powerhouse cast of the Road Warriors was simply too much for the Superchargers to handle.

Time’s Up

Third stringer and PBA Hopeful Karl Dehesa only had two points but that basket pushed the Road Warriors to enjoy their biggest lead of 40 – 79-39, with 7:53 remaining in the game. 

Raffy Reyes led all scorers for Big Chill with 16 points, followed closely by Jopher Custodio’s 11. Custodio scored all of his points in the fourth quarter.

NLEX came out on top playing team basketball – with 12 errors in the entire game compared to Big Chill’s 21.

Hindsight

Big Chill’s Coach Arsenio Dysangco said, “I wanna take all the experiences we’ve had this conference and use it next conference. I’m still happy with the way my team played today. Even if we trailed the entire game, it was enough that they did not give up even for one second.”

On the winning end, Coach Boyet Fernandez said, “We really came prepared for today’s game. Alam naming physical ang lalaruin nila. I want to give credits to the guys for being tough today. Even though we had a fairly comfortable lead, I told the boys that there’s no safe lead in this league.” 

The Return of the Beast

Fernandez added, “Nag-usap kami ni Calvin after nung Thursday. Sabi ko sa kanya, its up to him to prove himself pagbalik nya sa Game 3.”

Abueva bagged the Best Player of the Game award after finishing the game with 16 points and eight rebounds. When asked where he was last Thursday, he said, “Nasa Pampanga lang ako.” The trip back home may have renewed his drive to bring his team to the Finals. – Rappler.com

Box Scores:

NLEX (89) — Garcia 16, Abueva 16, Ellis 12, Sangalang 8, Marcelo 8, Hodge 8, Lanete 6, Monfort 6, Hermida 5, Dehesa 2, Co 2, Arao 0, Belencion 0.

Big Chil (60) — Reyes 16, Custodio 11, Maconocido 9, Collado 7, Jensen 4, Ponferrada 4, Dizon 4, Tan 3, Mallari 2, Galinato 0, Santos 0, Glorioso 0.

Quarter Scores: 22-10, 43-18, 71-37, 89-60.

Game on Thursday:  3:00 pm Freego vs. NLEX  (Ynares Sports Arena)

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