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With K&K returning, Yeng Guiao dangling NLEX’s picks for a big man

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NLEX Road Warriors head coach Yeng Guiao hinted at a possible massive overhaul of his squad following a ‘disappointing’ exit from the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup.

After finishing the elimination round as the eighth seed with 5-6 record, the Road Warriors were kicked out early in the quarterfinals. And it was no thanks to their ‘embarrassing’ 75-111 defeat to reigning champions and top-seed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Tuesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

It was an unacceptable ending for their season, according to Guiao, who had high hopes to his squad especially after they impressed  in this year’s Philippine Cup with a breakthrough semi-final appearance.

“The last two games were really disappointing and I felt that more than disappointing, they’re embarrassing,” Guiao said, referring to their epic collapse against the also-ran Rain or ShineElasto Painters at the end of the eliminations which set the stage to their 36-point beatdown from the Gin Kings.

“We just felt that we’re too amateurish, parang we’re not playing at the level of competition.”

Nine players in the NLEX camp have expiring contracts, and Guiao admitted that he is now thinking about resigning them after a dismal end to their 2018 season .

“We’re reconsidering some decisions that we made before na may mga players sana na magre-renew or mare-resign. But now, I’m having second thoughts,” said Guiao who also refused to name the said players.

“We have to review those players whom we’ve decided to resign and see if we really want to resign them.”

With this, Guiao is not closing door on a major revamp of the Road Warriors, who failed to step up when marquee players Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena went down with injury and FIBA suspension, respectively.

“We’ll try to improve the team and upgrade it, rebuild the team. There’s going to be major revamp coming,” he cleared.

“There’s no justification to retain the team at this point. So, we’re bracing for a major revamp.”

One way for that rebuild is through the upcoming Annual PBA Rookie Draft, which boasts a guard-heavy pool led by CJ Perez, Ray Parks, Jr., and Robert Bolick.

Guiao said NLEX are already settled on their guard rotation manned by Ravena and Alas, explaining his need for a quality big man – which the looming Rookie Draft lacks.

With this, Guiao is looking at trading their pick – which will most likely be the sixth overall – in exchange for a quality big men from other teams.

Maybe there could be two good rounds this rookie draft, but there are no big men, karamihan mga guwardiya,” he added.

“With Kiefer and Kevin coming back, magiging redundant din yung mga guwardiya na iyan, so we’re looking to trade our pick if we can have a quality big man in exchange.”

For the meantime, Guiao is shifting his focus to Gilas Pilipinas, which will start its training camp on November 12 for the upcoming fifth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers later this month.

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