Philippines, 12 Dec 2018
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NLEX keeps team intact for PBA Commish Cup

The NLEX Road Warriors, the youngest team in the MVP Group in the PBA, proved the saving grace for the family in the kick-off tournament of this, the pro league’s 43rd year, the Philippine Cup.

The Road Warriors, now being handled by multi-titled coach Yeng Guiao, went as far as the semifinal round of the Philippine Cup, otherwise known as the All-Filipino, surpassing those of sister teams Talk “N Text Ka Tropa and Meralco.

It is no surprising, therefore, for Guiao and his assistants to set their eyes on at least another Final Four appearance in the Second Conference called Commissioner’s Cup, which has just began.

“Modest lang ang target namin dito sa Second Conference. To again make it to the semifinal round, which the team accomplished for the first time since owning the franchise four years ago,” Guiao told the MANILA TIMES in an interview.

“Masaya na kami when we advanced to the Final Four in the All-Filipino. And with the kind of line up we had – young and with a sprinkling of veterans – payag na rin kami, we couldn’t ask for more,” Guiao, who has so far wo a total six PBA championships in a tie with Tommy Manotoc for the fifth most behind Tim Cone, Baby Dalupan, Norman Black, Jong Uichico and Chot Reyes.

“Kapag nakapasok kami sa semis at tingin namin puwede pang makarating sa mas mataas, well then, we’ll try to reach that which is still possible,” the clean-shaven Road Warriors mentor said.

“Yeah, it’s, possible kapag sinamahan ng suwerte. The boys, as I said, are happy, willing to learn more and well motivated. When you have those ingredients for success, everything is possible,” Guiao reasoned out.

Guiao, actually, is a returnee to the MVP Group having handled the then Mobiline squad in 1995-1996 during the franchise’s early years.

Reason why, according to Adonis Tierra, one of Guiao’ assistants, everybody agreed to retain the roster intact. “Maganda na ang itinakbo ng makina noong All-Filipinos, it ain’t broken why repair it pa.”

The Road Warriors make up for the 2017-2018 Commisioner’s Cup: Jonathan Uyloan, Emman Monfort, Michael Miranda, Juami Tiongson, Jansen Rios, Kevin Alas, Cyrus Baguio, Alex Mallari, Larry Fonacier, Keifer Ravena, Roman Soyud, Kenneth Iglaho, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Alonzo Golladera, J.R. Quinahan Asi Taulava and import Adrian Forbes.

Guiao’s only worry, which, of course, could be his biggest in an import-laced conference is Forbes, a veteran of the Dominican Republic league, who just arrived last Saturday and has yet to show his real worth.

Forbes took the place of original choice Arnett Moultrie, a reported 2012 NBA draft pick, who actually had agreed to come to Manila and play for NLEX but failed to get a release from his team in Bahrain where he has been seeing action.

“Pati yata pera ni Arnett ayaw ibigay noong team nya sa Bahrain kaya hindi nakarating,“ Tierra said. ‘So yung import namin ang lumalabas na problema namin as of now that Forbes hasn’t not shown his worth yet.”

Tierra said starting preparing for the Commissioner’s Cup two weeks after getting eliminated by Magnolia Hotshots for the finals of the last conference, the Road Warriors had played only one game against Alaska which they lost because they still didn’t a reinforcement that time.

The Road Warriors are scheduled to play Barangay Ginebra Wednesday at the Uppeer Deck Gym in Pasig City.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.

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