Outright playoff berth slips out of NLEX’s hands, but optimistic Guiao still likes their chances

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NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao was left to rue his team’s disappointing showing against Magnolia in a crucial PBA Philippine Cup eliminations assignment on Wednesday.

After a mid-conference surge saw them barge their way back into the playoff picture, the Road Warriors faltered and dropped their final two games to end up at 4-7 in the standings.

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More importantly, this loss put them in an unfavorable position as they continue to jockey for playoff positioning.

“I’m disappointed, actually. I thought we would be playing a good game, competing today. We’ve had good practices. Tingin ko nakahanda kami pero for one reason or another, we just played badly,” lamented Guiao.

Only one player—Bong Galanza, who had 10 points—scored in double figures for NLEX, which shot just 31.5 percent from the field in the lopsided defeat.

They also allowed the Hotshots to shoot almost half of their threes (14-for-30 from downtwon) in a win that helped Magnolia lock up the sixth seed.

“I guess we need to give credit to Magnolia, who played a really good game offensively and defensively. There were just on rhythm. It was a good game for them and it was a bad night for us,” Guiao added.

Yeng Guiao (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

NLEX’s playoff hopes now hinges on the result of the NorthPort-Ginebra clash, which is being played as of press time.

Should the resurgent Batang Pier win against the Gin Kings, NLEX will have to figure in a do-or-die clash against Alaska for the eighth and final seed.

But if Ginebra finishes its elims on a high note with a win, the Road Warriors will be able to advance as the seventh seed, setting themselves up with a twice-to-beat disadvantage against Rain or Shine.

Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s second match, Guiao is staying optimistic. After all, the door for a playoff appearance is still open for them either way.

“We still have a chance. May pag-asa pa rin naman kami. It’s either we go straight to the playoffs or we go into a knockout match against Alaska,” Guiao noted.

“As long as we have a chance to make the next round, that’s okay with me. We’ll keep our hopes high and we’ll keep trying our best to make the next round.”

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