He may be a seasoned mentor in the league but NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao can also forget things—like the interior of a press room once in a while.
“Ganito pala (itsura) dito, nakalimutan ko na ah,” quipped Guiao before addressing the mediamen moments after their breakthrough Commissioner’s Cup win over Alaska, 100-92, on Wednesday.
Clearly, it’s a joke, but it had some truth in it considering that Guiao’s last win at the Big Dome was way back on November 25 of last year, where the Road Warriors opened their Philippine Cup in style against—incidentally against the Aces.
NLEX then managed to pick up a second victory at the expense of their sister team TNT at Guiao’s hometown province in Pampanga on January 7 this year before the dreadful 13-game losing streak happened.
But now that the curse has already been broken after 4 months and 17 days, the fiery mentor can look forward on the promise of his new-look squad.
“We tried to just prove to ourselves that two weeks ago we made some painful decisions, hard decisions,” said Guiao in a serious tone. “Gusto lang namin na i-validate na at least tama yung mga ginawa namin.”
NLEX gave away Bradwyn Guinto, Sean Anthony, Garvo Lanete and Glenn Khobuntin for veterans Larry Fonacier, Alex Mallari and JR Quinahan in a desperate move to get positive results.
And true enough, Guiao, who is also NLEX’s general manager, saw immediate impact from his new acquisitions when they played powerhouse San Miguel last Friday.
“We beat San Miguel by 11 points in the second half. Even if we lost, we had a good, solid end game,” he said.
Good thing, both Mallari and Quinahan stepped up at crunchtime in their second game and put an end already in the team’s misery even without the help of import Wayne Chism in the last 5 minutes.
“We caught a big fish actually. Alaska is one of the best teams. This is a good win for us, we need a lot more situations like this where we can build character,” he said. “Our players are showing that and we are looking forward to the next conference.”
The Road Warriors now look to clinching a second win against Phoenix to exit the mid-season conference in style.
“Kahit na papaano we want to exit this conference with some pride and this is the best way to do it,” he said.
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