On double duty, NLEX sets modest target
Yeng Guiao flew to oil-rich Dubai having a modest goal. He and his Road Warriors, after all, will be facing two of the toughest teams in the PBA Governors’ Cup in a span of hours.
“You win one game, that’s good enough. Just don’t lose twice,” Guiao said in an interview via the league’s website as his Road Warriors tangle with Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer early on Saturday morning at Coca-Cola Arena.
Tip-off is at 8 p.m. in Dubai, around 12 midnight in Manila on Saturday.
NLEX is the unlikely coleader in the season-closing conference with three straight wins, and Guiao would want to use their stint in the oil-rich territory to be able to gauge their real strength for the playoffs.
“[I]f you’re able to win twice—being able to win on the road—that’s a real indication of toughness,” Guiao said.
San Miguel’s Leo Austria, on the other hand, wants his Beermen to sustain their hot start, something that they haven’t had in quite a while, especially after coming off a championship.
“If you noticed, every conference, after winning a championship, we’re really struggling,” Austria said. “This time, we had a good start, and perhaps that’s because of our participation in [Macau’s Terrific 12].”
After clashing with the Beermen, next up for Guiao would be crowd darling Barangay Ginebra and the durable Justin Brownlee on Saturday at around 10 p.m.
Meanwhile, defending champion Magnolia seeks to win a second straight game in action at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay where the Hotshots tangle with the Elasto Painters at 7 p.m.
“We learned a lot from our first game,” Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said. “We were able to hit our goal, which is to bring back our defensive mentality.”
Import Romeo Travis said he shares his coach’s view, and added that the old way is indeed the proven way for the Hotshots.
“We just learned that there are no easy games even when you get up by a lot of points,” he said. “This is a 48-minute game, so you have to keep your foot on the gas and keep going.”
“If we can continue [with that same] energy and effort throughout the rest of the conference, we can go fight for a championship [again],” Travis said.
The Elasto Painters will parade a new reinforcement in Kayel Locke, even as Alaska seeks to snap a three-game slide in the 4:30 p.m. contest against Meralco.
Frank House has been tapped by the Aces to take over the injured Justin Watts.
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