NLEX head coach Frankie Lim would love Jonathon Simmons play for his team for a much longer period especially after the Road Warriors’ splendid start to the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup.
The former NBA player has been living up to his promise to give NLEX a perfect start to the season-ending conference, towing his team to a come-from-behind 110-108 victory over TNT on Wednesday, Feb.1.
Simmons exploded for 45 points as he helped NLEX recover from a 15-point deficit late in the third frame before Kevin Alas delivered the big baskets down the stretch to score the team's third straight win in as many games.
Such fiery performance made Lim regret that Simmons is leaving at this point of the conference, even trying to convince the prolific import to extend for one more game and face Ginebra on Wednesday, Feb. 8, buy to no avail.
“I was asking him to stay with one more game so he gets to play against Ginebra but they want him to leave right away,” said Lim.
“That if he finds his passport,” he jested, drawing a smile from Simmons who will be playing his final game in NLEX uniform against Phoenix on Saturday, Feb. 4.
In lieu of Simmons, NLEX has tapped another former NBA player in Wayne Selden although Lim admitted that his outgoing import has set the bar quite high – something that Selden needs to at least match when he formally takes his role.
“I still have to see him but more or less. He's gonna play the same spot. Sims is leaving, he's just like Sims. He is an NBA player so we can also expect a lot,” Lim said of Selden.
More than the individual talent, another thing that NLEX and the new import will have to work on is the chemistry, an area where Simmons and the rest of the Road Warriors had already developed and was very much evident during the game against Tropang Giga, especially on the defensive end.
“TNT is a strong team. They also have a good import. I think we also shut down Mikey. That's a big plus on our defense. The first quarter, Hudson was big with 21 and scored two in the second quarter. Maganda rin ‘yung pinakita sa defense, like I always tell them I give the offense you want but we need to make a stop, so that's what happens,” he added.