The NLEX Road Warriors go for the crown of the Phoenix Super Basketball Tournament when they battle the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters 10 a.m., today, Friday at the Upper Deck Gym in Pasig.
The Alaska Aces battle the San Miguel Beermen at 12 noon in the second game.
The Road Warriors will be looking to follow up their back-to-back victories over Alaska, 104-89, on Feb. 19 and the Beermen, 103-97, on Feb. 17. NLEX sweeps the competition with a victory over Phoenix to automatically win the PBA pre-season tournament.
The Road Warriors, despite missing the services of their two best big men in Poy Erram and JR Quiñahan, posted convincing victories.
NLEX instead relied on outside shooting to beat the Aces. The Road Warriors drained 10 three pointers for 30 points against Alaska compared to just three triples for the Aces for nine points.
NLEX reserve big man Raul Soyud ignited a 10-0 bomb which turned a close game against the Aces into a virtual rout. NLEX turned a slim 56-51 advantage into a fat 15-point, 66-51, lead late in the third period. It was a deficit that the Aces could not quite overcome as the Road Warriors went on to coast to victory.
Soyud led the Road Warriors with 22 points. Kevin Alas chipped in 18 markers.
Vic Manuel led the Aces with a game-high 28 points to go with eight rebounds and one steal. Sharp shooting Mike DiGregorio added 15 points off 50 percent (5 of 10) shooting from the field and 100 percent (4 of 4) from the free throw line.
Abu Tratter had a good scoring evening with 11 points. He added eight rebounds and one steal.
Alas lit up for the Road Warriors early, scoring nine of his 18 points in the opening frame as NLEX opened a 22-9 lead.
That lead grew to as much as 19, 43-24, midway in the second frame as NLEX took Alaska to a shooting clinic en route to its second straight victory in the tune-up series.
Manuel cut the gap to five, 56-51, with 6:41 left in the third frame, but Soyud and Alas teamed up to hike their lead.
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