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As losses pile up, Guiao admits: ‘We’re actually trying to survive right now’

NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao is pushing the panic button as his side lost its second game in a row in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup, Thursday.

The Road Warriors bowed to a youth-laden Converge side by way of a 112-108 decision, giving the team its fourth defeat in the conference overall. And that’s precisely where the champion mentor’s worry stems from.

At present, the ball club is sitting at seventh place in the team standings with an even 4-4 record, a position which they do not want to stay into entering the quarterfinals as it would put them at a twice-to-beat disadvantage.

“We’re struggling. We’re actually trying to survive right now.

“Kasi ayaw namin kahit mag-qualify ka for semis kung nasa 7 and 8 ka naman. Malaking disadvantage. We’re really in desperation mode,” Guaio offered moments after the match at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

What has been a primary issue of NLEX in the tourney reared its ugly head against the new member team. It actually began the game with seven unanswered points but failed to protect the lead as the opposition eventually took over.

The outspoken mentor gave props to their foes, but at the same time lamented their failure not just in protecting leads, but keeping up on defense against a team as young and as athletic as the FiberXers.

“We played Converge, I think, on a night when they played their best game. Accepted namin ‘yon na Converge, in their best game, is going to defeat any team in this league. That’s their best game,” he said.

“But we have to take some responsibility for that also, kailangan din namin na tanggapin ‘yung mga mali namin. We lost out in our transition defense, they were a lot more aggressive and quicker getting out in transition than we were.

“I think it’s also something we need to address, aside from losing big leads, we have to address getting back in transition and defending the more athletic and quicker teams,” he continued.

#ReadMore  Pressure on for Alex Mallari, NLEX veterans to step up as tough stretch looms

It didn’t help as well that a former Road Warrior in Dave Murrell was at the forefront of Converge’s attack with 21 points, as well as their seventh overall pick in the last draft in Tyrus Hill, who finished with 18 points.

“Kung titingnan mo, top-scorers nila si Murrell, si Hill tsaka si Taylor [Browne], that’s an extraordinary night for them,” Guiao said.

NLEX now has its sights set on Saturday against Rain or Shine, the team’s third to the last game which it hopes to conquer to move up to the standings — and evade being in a precarious spot in the playoffs.

“We have one day to prepare tomorrow for the Sat game, the Rain or Shine game is going to be a lot bigger, more important for us right now,” Guiao said.

“If we can win the game on Saturday that will give us more time to prepare and less pressure to live up against. Meron pa kaming two games after that so maybe that’s going to be enough to get us out of 7th or 8th place if we qualify.”

The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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