Step in the right direction as NLEX finally ends slump
It took 10 tries for NLEX to get its first win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, a little too late to push for a playoff spot, but the Road Warriors are already looking to make an impact come the third conference.
The Road Warriors are still at the cellar with a 1-9 card but Yeng Guiao and his wards have turned their attention to the upcoming Governors’ Cup.
NLEX upended Alaska, 100-92, to score its first win in the Commissioner’s Cup and Guiao said the victory was the first step in their plan to contend in the Governors’ Cup.
“Our players are showing that we are looking forward to the next conference, we know that we just need to make use of our last game on Saturday to keep building confidence,” said Guiao Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
NLEX is set to face Phoenix on Saturday at Ynares Center in Antipolo, a mere formality to complete its elimination round schedule.
“We have to at least exit this conference with a little bit of pride and this is the best way to do it.”
And Guiao’s vision has trickled down to his players.
The Road Warriors first realized they can put up a decent fight in the Governors’ Cup when it managed to outscore powerhouse San Miguel in the fourth quarter, 35-25, in a 114-108 losing effort.
“This was a huge confidence boost for us,” said guard Kevin Alas who had 11 points against the Aces. “Our game against San Miguel was a big confidence booster for us, and I hope this confidence extends to the next conference.”
For JR Quiñahan, who reunited with Guiao after playing for the Kapampangan coach for seven years with Rain or Shine, said they’re on the process of perfecting their craft if they plan to push for a playoffs spot in the third conference.
“Right now we’re in the process, and there will be some changes,” said Quiñahan who had 16 points off the bench for NLEX. “I think he’s still looking for new players and knowing coach Yeng I know we have a big chance to compete come the Governors’ Cup.”
Even import Wayne Chism, who won’t play in the Governors’ Cup, is confident NLEX can turn things around.
Chism has played under Guiao during their time with the Elasto Painters and after their win against the Aces the former Tennessee Volunteer sees better things for the Road Warriors.
“The chemistry is coming along now, it was rough at the beginning but since we added four players and how everything is going, the momentum is starting to change,” said Chism.
NLEX traded for Quiñahan, Larry Fonacier, Alex Mallari, and Kenneth Ighalo at the tailend of the Commissioner’s Cup.