Published on Tuesday, 05 June 2012 01:00
NLEX and Cebuana Lhullier try to arrange another finals showdown when they go for series-clinching wins today in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the San Juan gym.
Still unscathed in 10 outings highlighted by a nine-game eliminations sweep, the Road Warriors try to repeat over the Elite of Blackwater Sports at 4 p.m. while the Gems, riding on a five-game winning run, look to close out the Big Chill Super Chargers at 2 o’clock.
Banking on their airtight defensive blanket, the Road Warriors, the reigning back-to-back champions, came up big in the second half to hold off the Super Chargers in the crunch and score an 86-77 win in the opener of their best-of-three series last Thursday.
Coach Boyet Fernandez believes their vaunted defense will be the key anew, stressing: “Blackwater is the league’s top offensive team. If we don’t shoot well we’re in trouble. So we have to realize that if we intend to win this series we have to play tough defense.”
Energetic Fil-Am Cliff Hodge, who showed the way with 22 points, and bull-strong Calvin Abueva are expected to be the primary focus of the Elite’s defense.
The Gems, who lost to the Road Warriors in two games for the inaugural Foundation Cup title, are out to score a fitting follow-up to their 79-66 victory also last Thursday.
Despite a sub-par performance from reigning MVP Vic Manuel who was limited to just 10 points, the Gems drew superb outings from their reserves led by guard Chris Exciminiano who came off the bench and fired a game-high 17 points. James Mangahas ably contributed with 10 markers.
Aware of Big Chill’s firepower, Cebuana coach Beaujing Acot intends to keep his wards focused and composed, saying: “We’ll treat Game 2 as just another game. But we have to play smart and, hopefully, we could seal it.”