NLEX quint recruiting to remain unbeatableBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
NLEX IS the only champion the PBA D-League has known. And the Road Warriors hope to keep it that way, until the next conference, at least.
Even before the Road Warriors completed a remarkable 13-game sweep to capture a third straight crown, coach Boyet Fernandez said the team has been gearing up for the next season.
“We already started hiring players even before the finals,” admitted Fernandez. “We’re rebuilding because we have eight who are joining the PBA.”
It’s not just the pro league, though, that’s waiting for the arrival of NLEX’s young stars.
The Smart Gilas national team also hopes to tap some of the squad’s core members led by Cliff Hodge, the Filipino-American forward who bagged the Best Player of the Conference plum.
Aside from Hodge, also in the wish list of either the national or pro teams are Chris Ellis, Far Eastern U standout RR Garcia, Ateneo’s Emman Monfort, San Beda’s Jake Pascual and the San Sebastian power trio of Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual.
“These are the future stars of the PBA,” said Fernandez.
Out to maintain their status as a star-studded crew, the Road Warriors have their eyes on Ateneo’s Nico Salva, San Beda’s Baser Amer and Adamson’s Alex Nuyles next season.
Banking on a balanced charge, the Road Warriors overwhelmed Big Chill, 82-62, in Game 2 last Thursday to complete a 2-0 sweep of the best-of-three series.
It was a familiar scenario, though, as the Road Warriors never lost a game in the championship round.
In the league’s inaugural season in 2010, the Road Warriors swept Cebuana Lhuillier, 2-0, in the finals, before pulling off the same feat against Freego Jeans the next conference.
“This is really one for the books,” said Fernandez. “Everyone really worked hard for this.”