Adonis Tierra simply felt relieved that things fell in order for NLEX following a turbulent couple of weeks for the MVP-owned ball club.
The long-time deputy was tasked to hold the fort for the rebuilding Road Warriors for a while and was able to ace his first test after leading his side to a 96-90 win over Rain or Shine to start off their PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“‘Yung pressure nandoon eh. Medyo isa or dalawang linggo na yata akong hindi nakakatulog,” he said after the match at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
“Mabigat. Pero thankful pa rin ako sa management ,sa tiwala na binigay sa’kin to handle this team.”
NLEX hit the reset button shortly after Yeng Guiao’s departure as its chief mentor and general manager earlier this month, figuring in a shocking trade that saw the team send Calvin Oftana to TNT in a three-way deal.
And just before the mid-season conference began, the Road Warriors named Frankie Lim as its new chief shot-caller, marking his return to the league after seven years or since handling Barangay Ginebra in 2015.
The former San Beda mentor, though, had to serve a one-game suspension for hitting then-Alaska star Calvin Abueva during his previous stint in the pro league, the reason why Tierra had to pinch-hit for the champion coach.
And the 62-year-old went on to prove that he was the right choice by steering the unit to a victory against, coincidentally, Guiao and the Elasto Painters.
“Ang galing nga ng PBA, kami agad ‘yung tinapat,” said Tierra, adding that his familiarity with the owner of seven PBA championships helped.
“For the past six years, ‘yung philosophy and diskarte ni Coach sa offense and defense, medyo meron kaming… parang medyo madali mag-scout ng konti. Pero konti lang. Pero marami na ring binago si Coach,” he added.
Tierra, though, didn’t take all the credit, tipping his hat to the management, the coaches, and the players for helping the team pull through altogether.
“Mahirap ‘yung di ko alam kung ano ‘yung gagawin ko nung first week, kasi hindi ko alam kung tatanggalin ko ‘yung sistema ni Coach, kung may darating ba. Pero ang ginawa ko lang, usap kami ng mga coaches,” he said.
“Sabi ko dahan-dahan natin tanggalin ‘yung sistema, pero huwag bigla para hindi maano ‘yung team,” he furthered.
NLEX will only have a day to regroup before facing Meralco on Sunday, and that would mean another game for Tierra to handle.
“Ako pa rin. Bale nag-decide ‘yung management na ako pa rin (next game),” he said.
“Ako muna ulit.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.