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NLEX on right track

  • Written by Arman Carandang
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 221

NLEX which made a good showing in the last PBA Governors’ Cup is on the right track in the Philippine
Cup.

The Road Warriors kicked off their campaign in the prestigious conference with back-to-back
victories – something which they hope to sustain in the New Year.

A 2-0 however may not actually mean anything yet, but coach Yeng Guiao is brimming with
confidence in the brand new season, and that’s despite the fact that most of the teams have kept
their respective line-ups intact, and the others have undergone massive changes to cope with the
challenges in the All-Filipino Conference.
    
When asked to compare his Road Warriors this season to last season’s, Guiao was candid about
his answer.
    
“We have better chemistry this season,” Guiao told People’s Journal last Dec. 30.
    
“Maybe it’s because we spent more time together or our personnel just get along better,” he
added.
    
Guiao admitted he was impressed with the way the Road Warriors fashioned their victories over
Kia Picanto (119-115) last Dec. 20 and Globalport (115-104) last Dec. 25.
    
“We also finished games stronger and maybe because we are smarter because of the leadership
of the veterans,” said Guiao.
    
The Road Warriors won just two out of 11 games in the Philippine Cup last season, a
forgettable stint that went unabated in the ensuing Commissioner’s Cup where they ended up with the
same output, 2-9.
    
In a remarkable turnaround, the Road Warriors figured prominently in the Governors’ Cup where
at one time they even held the lead for more than a week.
    
They won seven and lost four outings in the season-ending conference to make the quarterfinal
round.
    
Unfortunately, they were bumped off right away by a twice-to-beat and now Magnolia Hotshots
in the quarters.
    
This conference however, Guiao became all the more optimistic, although the Road Warriors
have never been included in the list of favorites.
    
“We make better decisions as a team than one year ago,” said Guiao, who cited the big roles
being played in the team by veterans.
    
NLEX, one of the three teams maintained by the Manny V. Pangilinan group in the league, the
two others being Talk ‘N Text and Meralco, is dotted by seasoned veterans in the likes of JR
Quinahan, Asi Taulava, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Larry Fonacier, Alex Mallari and Cyrus Baguio, and Kevin
Alas.
    
The good thing about the team is that it has acquired Keifer Ravena, a rookie who plays like
a real veteran.
    
As testament to his very promising professional career, Ravena became the first recipient of
an award being given by the PBA Press Corps in the young tournament.
    
The Road Warriors who are in a tie with the San Miguel Beermen on top, will play next Phoenix
when the league resumes on Jan. 7..