Simmons’ final act: Leaving Road Warriors with spotless 4-0 record
NLEX coach Frankie Lim has been frequently joking in postgame interviews about hiding Jonathon Simmons’ passport ever since it was determined that his Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) stint won’t last that long.
It’s perhaps Lim’s way of showing his appreciation of Simmons, whose Road Warriors campaign ended in a sweep of all four matches before fellow ex-NBA player Wayne Selden takes over to try and keep the team’s hot start in the season-ending Governors’ Cup.
Lim hopes Selden can provide at least some of the list of qualities he described of the former San Antonio Spurs cager.
“His leadership inside [and] he knows how to win games. I think I’ll miss that,” Lim said of Simmons after their 98-94 win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Saturday at Ynares Center here.
“He’s a nice guy to work with, even in practice. Magaan kasama (Easy to be around),” added the Road Warriors mentor after continuing the huge turnaround from his jittery debut in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Selden has yet to join the team, but Lim plans to see him as early as he can to begin the transition phase which the Road Warriors hope would be an easy one before facing Commissioner’s Cup champion Barangay Ginebra on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It’s obviously a massive challenge for NLEX as the Ginebra showdown would be a gauge if the Road Warriors are indeed for real, even with Simmons set for a trip back to China to resume his pro career there.
Amid the hoopla of Simmons’ final act, Lim was able to sneak up some tidbits on what NLEX needs to resolve other than the import change, as seen against Phoenix.
“I think we should get more points from Kevin [Alas], Don [Trollano], even Sean Anthony and Brandon [Ganuelas-Rosser],” he said.
Simmons finished with 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals to wrap up his Philippine sojourn. His four-game averages of 37.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals will leave a lot of what-ifs.
“I have a short window left to play basketball, I’m just kinda thinking about that,” Simmons said.
And Lim, once again, couldn’t help but once again joke about Simmons’ passport.
“He already has his passport,” Lim said before telling his import to “make sure it’s real,” prompting a wide smile from Simmons.