The NLEX Road Warriors, behind a defense-centered gameplan and a balanced offensive attack, drew first blood in the best-of-three series against the Cagayan Rising Suns with an 87-63 win in Game One of the 2013 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup finals held Thursday at the Blue Eagle Gym.
The Road Warriors wasted little time in blowing the game wide open, building a 14-point bubble by halftime. It remained a one-sided contest for the defending champs up until the final buzzer.
Ian Sangalang led the way for NLEX with 15 markers. Borgie Hermida also had a big game with 10 points and 11 assists for the Road Warriors.
“I know they will be back so we have to be ready. They have a good coaching staff. Luckily, we came to match their energy. We started well kaya bumaba kagad energy nila. I’m sure they will be back,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
The biggest margin for NLEX stood at 27 points, 80-53, in the last five minutes of the game after a short stab from Greg Slaughter.
Though the Rising Suns won the rebounding department, 48-46, the Road Warriors shot better, finishing the game with a 50.8% shooting clip going 33-of-65 from the field. Cagayan only made 22 out of their 68 attempts for a 32.4% clip.
“We’ll just have to match their energy. Our mindset is to start strong. We’ll be ready for Tuesday. It won’t be a walk in the park. I expect a lot from the staff and the players as well,” added Fernandez.
Eliud Poligrates paced the Rising Suns with 15 markers while Mark Bringas finished with a double double of 11 points and 11 boards in a losing cause.
Game Two will be played on Tuesday, February 26, 3 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
NLEX (87) — Sangalang 15, Slaughter 11, Salva 10, Hermida 10, Lanete 10, Long 9, Garcia 6, Amer 5, J. Pascual 4, Ganuelas 2, Alas 2, Sumalinog 2, Camson 1, R. Pascual 0.
Cagayan (63) — Poligrates 15, Webb 11, Bringas 11, Almazan 8, Lao 7, Forrester 4, Exciminiano 4, Celada 3, Pasculado 0, Cruz 0, Canta 0, Melano 0, Montemayor 0.
Quarters: 26-21, 49-35, 70-46, 87-63.