In a display of confidence, NLEX Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao headed straight to the press room, where winning coaches are interviewed, right after getting ejected in the fourth quarter of his team’s game versus the Kia Picanto.
When Guiao was thrown out due to two technicals, NLEX was up, 90-82, with 4:42 remaining left in the game. But the Picanto was in the middle of a rally that put them back in the game after trailing by as many as 27 points.
Guiao was right about his decision, as NLEX hung on to notch a 100-93 win to get off to a 2-0 start to its Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup campaign.
“Excited ako kaya pumasok ako nang maaga. I was so excited I came to the room early. Nagpadalawang technical na ako para makasama ko kayo agad,” Guiao said in jest.
It may still be early, but the Road Warriors’ unbeaten start is a huge improvement compared to their performances in the past two conferences where they struggled to even pick up a win.
Turning serious, Guiao said there’s no reason to celebrate this early.
“We just want a good win. We just want to get one game at a time. All those positives are being reinforced with the wins we’re getting. Kapag realistically mayroon kang chance, pwedeng taasan yung objectives namin. Wala pa kami sa punto na yun. Siguro after four, five, six games pwede mo masabi na ‘sige subukan nating pumasok ng playoffs without being too presumptuous’,” Guiao said.
“At this point, kapag inambisyon namin yun, baka akala ng mga tao nananaginip kami nang dilat. Wala pa kaming karapatan. Pero tingnan natin baka after a few games, may karapatan na kami.”
Guiao said he’s happy that NLEX, which in the past suffered long skids, is finally experiencing a different kind of streak this tournament.
“It’s a nice feeling to get a winning streak. The confidence level is getting better. We were really excited before this game to just keep on playing because we know there’s something good that is really happening. We feel there’s a transformation from the previous mentality,” he said.
“We’re getting good effort, balance effort and that’s important for us. Aside from the balance local effort, we have our import who is consistently giving us the scoring and the rebounds.”
Aaron Fuller had another solid game on Saturday, finishing with 24 points and 19 rebounds but the rest of the Road Warriors also contributed led by Kevin Alas and Carlo Lastimosa, who had 13 points apiece, and JR Quinahan, who added 11 markers.