NLEX eyes Crispa win streak record vs FruitasBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
NLEX goes for a record streak today when it takes on unpredictable Fruitas in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Despite a couple of shaky wins, the Road Warriors are favored in the 2 p.m. game in their bid to surpass the longest winning streak in the pros, a remarkable 21-game run set by Crispa in the PBA 29 years ago.
“We’re not thinking about that; that’s added pressure to the players,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez as his three-time champions vie to keep the solo lead with a fifth triumph.
“We just want to get more wins to get in the top two. So we got to change the attitude of the players when it comes to defense.”
Big Chill, running second with a 3-0 record, also aims to stay unbeaten against the winless Boracay Rum at 12 noon.
Blackwater Sports and Jose Rizal University-Air21 collide at 4 p.m. to cap the heavy three-game bill.
Last Tuesday, the Road Warriors blew another double-digit lead in the second half before escaping with an 88-81 victory over newcomer Informatics.
The triumph stretched NLEX’s unbeaten run to 21 straight games, which started two conferences ago in January.
But Fernandez said his squad is bracing for a tough time against Fruitas’ Nigerian center Ola Adeogun and top gunner Carlo Lastimosa.
“We intend to limit his (Adeogun) touches and try our best to contain him,” said Fernandez. “But we need to focus on Lastimosa. He’s averaging 18 points a game.”
Mentored by Nash Racela, the Shakers hope to rebound from a narrow loss to Blackwater Sports, 64-69, last Tuesday.
“Our mind-set is to correct our mistakes and bounce back,” said Racela.