PBA: Unbothered by trivia, NLEX stretches Blackwater’s road of torment | Inquirer Sports
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PBA: Unbothered by trivia, NLEX stretches Blackwater’s road of torment

/ 05:10 AM February 19, 2022
NLEX guard Jericho Cruz.

NLEX guard Jericho Cruz. PBA IMAGES

NLEX coach Yeng Guiao believes Blackwater is owed a favor by the basketball gods.

“We … felt that Blackwater is due for a win at some point,” Guiao told reporters late Friday afternoon, after his team pounded yet another loss into the Bossing’s continued record spiral. “So naturally, we wouldn’t want to end up as victims.”

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They didn’t. The Road Warriors kept themselves from bookending their foes’ current slump by coasting to a 117-97 victory in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

Unbeknownst to Guiao, the last time Blackwater won a PBA match was in the 2020 Philippine Cup—against his NLEX squad.

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Urgent situation

NLEX import KJ McDaniels.

FILE––NLEX import KJ McDaniels. PBA IMAGES

So that footnote was not part of the pep talk inside the locker room before the match. Mostly, that talk centered on how a promising start where the Road Warriors seized the tournament lead had devolved into an urgent situation

“We just wanted to break our losing streak,” Guiao said in the customary postgame chat for winning coaches.

“After a good start where we won four games, we lost three. We felt that losing would [put us] in a big hole we might not be able to come out from,” he added.

NLEX responded. Import KJ McDaniels was his usual steady self in the contest, turning in 24 points and 11 rebounds. Jericho Cruz pumped in another 22 to lead three other locals in double figures as the Road Warriors managed just fine without the added pressure of being the answer to a trivia question on Blackwater’s current slump.

“I’m glad that you’re just bringing it (that trivia) just now,” Guiao said. “We would’ve been a bit nervous had we known.”

Wary of how NorthPort stunned red-hot Meralco the night before, NLEX rolled its sleeves early, putting together a 34-14 edge by the end of the first period.

26 games

The Bossing were hardly a threat from thereon. They haven’t been in a long while, actually. Blackwater’s run of ignominy is now at 26 games.

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The Road Warriors stayed in control as the game plodded along, with midseason pickup Kris Rosales catching fire in the second half en route to finishing with 18 points.

Import Shawn Glover was solid yet again for Blackwater, putting up 39 points and 15 rebounds. However, the Bossing hardly drew enough help from its locals—something that even Guiao pointed out.

“Their import played really good basketball. He was very efficient. Maybe if there were also other locals supporting him, we would’ve been in trouble,” the NLEX mentor said.

Youngsters Rey Suerte and Mike Ayonayon were the only other Blackwater players to reach double digits, finishing the game with 11 each.

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TAGS: Blackwater Bossing, NLEX Road Warriors, PBA, PBA Governor's Cup
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