Tony Semerad rises to occasion, thanks to coach Yeng's guidance

Published September 29, 2021, 11:17 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from PBA

Tony Semerad played one of the important roles in keeping NLEX alive in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals with his 23-point performance in the 81-80 win over twice-to-beat Meralco.

Semerad went 9-of-14 from the field including five triples to help the Road Warriors avoid elimination in the season-opening conference.

He fell a point shy of tying his career-best of 24 while playing for GlobalPort in a double overtime win over Meralco in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup.

The seven-year veteran, known for being a spot up shooter and rugged defender, feels that coach Yeng Guiao has allowed him to do more this conference, which allowed him to have some productive games including the quarterfinal win over the Bolts.

“He’s helped develop my game,” Semerad said. “I can play all around now, I’m developing into the 4, 3, 2 (power forward, small forward and shooting guard) spots. So I feel like I’m getting my confidence back again and I’m very grateful for him.”

Semerad averaged 8.8 points on 50-percent shooting in the first four games when the eliminations were played at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City in late-July.

But Semerad had to miss the first two games of the restart in Bacolor after his wife Sam Pinto gave birth to a baby girl earlier this month.

“As you know, my wife, she gave birth, so I had to leave and help her out with that,” he said. “I’ve had no sleep, but I guess the bubble has been good, because you know, if I was at home I would have to stay up and look after the baby, so at least I can just focus here and give my all.”

His return had been up-and-down, even missing one game due to injury, before delivering for the Road Warriors with their campaign on the line.

NLEX could only hope for another solid game from Semerad as it tries to go for an upset of Meralco in the knockout match for a semifinals berth on Friday, Oct. 1.