Red-hot NLEX deals Blackwater its first loss in Guiao’s return
NLEX welcomed its head coach Yeng Guiao back with a 124-106 drubbing of Blackwater in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Road Warriors unleashed a barrage of treys led by veteran sharpshooter Larry Fonacier to deal the Elite their first loss after a 4-0 start.
Fonacier turned in a vintage performance with six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 24 points, including back-to-back triples near the two-minute warning, to shut the door on Blackwater’s comeback hopes Aaron Fuller also had 24 points that went with 20 rebounds as NLEX improved to 4-2.
“We had quite a long preparation for this game when we saw that this team (Blackwater) is really for real so we made sure that we’re really prepared for this game,” said Guiao, who missed the Road Warriors first five games due to his national team duties.
“The plan really was to sacrifice Walker scoring more than his average. The keys to winning for Blackwater would be the locals combining with Walker on offense and four to five guys in double-figures,” Guiao added, referring to Elite import Henry Walker. “So we figured we had to pick our poison and it was decided that Waker can go one-on-one but prevent him from setting up his teammates for the three-point shots. Basically, the defensive scheme worked for us.”
It worked to a tee with Walker, who came into the game averaging 30.3 points, was held to just 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting from the field.
“Also, offensively we’re really excited to play after a long break. For me, I’m excited to coach just to get the feel of the PBA again and like I said, you will learn a lot and you wanna apply what you learn. We tried a few experiments and they seemed to work.”
The Road Warriors set a franchise record with 20 3-pointers, which also ranks eighth all-time, as per PBA stats wiz Fidel Mangonon.
The Elite, who played minus star big man Poy Erram due to a viral infection, came to within single-digits, 101-92, with still 5:29 remaining before Fonacier sank his fourth triple to get the Road Warriors rolling again.
Blackwater guards Roi Sumang and Paul Zamar had 24 and 16 points, respectively while coming off the bench.