NLEX hopes to get back at Korea’s Etland in battle for 3rd
MACAU—NLEX missed out on a shot at the Asia League Super 8 title when it lost to Guangzhou, 75-63, in the semifinals Saturday at Macau East Asian Games Dome here.
The Road Warriors, though, still have a chance at the bronze medal on Sunday when it faces Etland, a team that defeated them, 75-60, in the group stages.
Head coach Yeng Guiao they won’t just play for the last podium finish but they will head into their duel against the Elephants with retribution in mind.
“They beat in our second game here, and we feel that you learn something every time you play the Korean teams,” said Guiao. “And it’s not just enough that you learn, but it will be sweeter if you learn and beat them at the same time.”
“We’ll try to win third place and get a podium finish, at least that’s going to be good enough for us,” added Guiao.
The Road Warriors got pummeled in its previous game against Etland when the Elephants made 15 3-pointers giving them their only loss of the group stage.
Guiao said their newfound awareness of the Koreans will help them in the bronze medal game, while veteran center Asi Taulava knows one way to counteract the Elephants’ shooting.
“If we can salvage third place that’d be great but we like our chances and I love these guys as long as they have this fighting heart we’ll get better,” said Taulava, who has been shooting 33.3 percent from deep in the tournament. “We’re showing more heart now than we did last [PBA] conference and I got to love that.”
“The more you get used to their style, the better you react,” said Guiao. “The first time we faced them, our reaction time had a split-second delay and if you give them that extra time they will make shots. We’re hoping to react better defensively.”
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