After getting just their second win in seven games, NLEX mentor Yeng Guiao expressed confidence that the Road Warriors are slowly but surely getting their rhythm and confidence as they fight for a playoff berth in the PBA’s 45th Season Philippine Cup.
NLEX earned its second win with a 109-98 victory over the previously unbeaten TNT Tropang Giga last Thursday, which improved the team’s win-loss record to 2-5 – currently 10th in the standings.
“We’re getting there… that’s the most important thing for us,” said Guiao in a telephone interview Friday with Manila Bulletin. “It took a little bit of time for us to get there, but we’re getting there.”
Guiao’s comments came on the same day that the league announced the cancellation of Friday’s games as the league awaits the new health protocols from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Defending five-time champion San Miguel Beer was supposed to face Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the nightcap, after the match between Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok and NorthPort.
Guiao said they were informed of the cancellation and are now just waiting for instructions from PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial. He added that they are ready to play if and when the league resumes with the lone conference this season.
According to Guiao, it took a while for the three new recruits in veteran forward Tony Semerad, and rookies Myke Ayonayon and Will McAloney to get integrated into the NLEX system.
To be able to give them playing time and get accustomed with the plays of NLEX, playing minutes of guys like Kenneth Ighalo, Philip Paniamogan and Bong Galanza had to be reduced.
“These guys have been contributing in the past, but with new players coming in things like that were needed. Now, after a month playing together, I think we saw that these new players can help us,” he said.
Guiao said that halfway through the conference, it’s evident that there is cohesion among teams that have played together for a while, as well as ball clubs with deeper talent are now on top of the standings.
TNT is on top with a 5-1 card, followed by Rain or Shine at 4-1, while San Miguel and Ginebra are tied at 4-2, and Alaska and Phoenix Super LPG sport 5-3 and 4-3 records respectively.
“Another factor is the longer you’ve been together, teams like San Miguel Beer, Ginebra and even Magnolia, wala ka ng gaanong babaguhin sa system kasi matagal na silang magkakasama,” he said.
“Also, if you are a talented team like TNT, automatic na lulutang yung talent. Kung may talent ang team nasho-short cutmo na yung adjusting to the system, kami we have to be better prepared and condition.”
“Yung ibang teams naman naka-adjust talaga kaagad. Of course hindi puwedeng excuse kasi we’re on the same boat, pero mas huli kami sa naka-adapt, which really is a disadvantage if you have less talent,” added Guiao.