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Guiao marvels at NLEX’s heart: ‘Puro surplus pero yung puso nila, brand new’

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Tiebreaker Times Guiao marvels at NLEX's heart: 'Puro surplus pero yung puso nila, brand new' Basketball News PBA  Yeng Guiao PBA Season 44 NLEX Road Warriors 2019 PBA Governors Cup

The hands of defeat appeared wrapped around NLEX’s neck when the Road Warriors went down by 26 in the first half of their 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup clash with defending champions Magnolia Hotshots, Sunday night.

But they did not throw in the towel. Instead, they fought back as hard as they could, and that paid off greatly.

Thanks to Jericho Cruz’ follow-up with exactly a second left to play, the Road Warriors stunned the Hotshots, 86-85.

This is the second time in this season-ending tilt that NLEX has clawed its way back from a deep hole. The first time was against Barangay Ginebra last October 5 in Dubai, where it rallied from 28 down for a 113-111 overtime win.

Coach Yeng Guiao was asked which comeback win was better. But for him, both felt great.

Hindi ko na masabi kung ano ‘yung mas masarap na pakiramdam, ‘yung sa Dubai or ito. Kasi ‘yung sa Dubai, Ginebra tinalo mo roon e. Dito naman, defending champion yung tinalo mo,” said the outspoken bench strategist.

So, wala kang itulak-kabigin dito sa mga ‘to. Parehong masarap manalo.

This is the Road Warriors’ fifth consecutive win, enabling them to book a coveted twice-to-beat advantage for the quarterfinals. They are the second team this conference to do so next to sister team Meralco Bolts (8-2).

Also, the win is NLEX’s eighth in nine games — the most that they have collected in an elimination round ever since joining the league in 2014. Their best record prior to Sunday was 7-4 in the 2017 edition of the season-ending meet.

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This current Road Warriors batch could arguably be the best the franchise has had. Still, Guiao doesn’t think that way. For him, he doesn’t have the most talented team, but a collection of players with plenty of heart.

The outspoken mentor even likened his squad to a car made up of second-hand materials, but is running just fine.

Puro surplus lang itong mga piyesa natin dito e. So at least ‘yung makina namin gumagana naman. Puro reject at surplus pero ‘yung puso nila, brand new,” expresses Guiao, who’s been coaching in the PBA since 1990.

Actually pagdating sa talent ‘di naman kami most talented team ngayon. Kiefer [Ravena] is practically a rookie. Rookie year niya ‘di siya nakapaglaro. Naputol. Jericho tinapon lang ng Talk N Text ‘yan. Si JR [Quiñahan] tinapon din yata ng NorthPort ‘yan … Sina Philip [Paniamogan], sina Bong Galanza, mga reject lang ng PBA ‘yan, pero nagpapakita sila. Si [Kenneth] Ighalo nga nung nag-trade kami, isinama lang si Ighalo sa amin — parang lollipop lang siya na isinama. Libre. Si Mike Miranda nga reject lang ng Talk N Text yan e.

So siyempre matutuwa ka bilang coach. Mga piyesa mo surplus pero ‘yung sasakyan mo tumatakbo ng maayos,” he expressed.

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