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Kyles Lao surprised with minutes given by NLEX in debut


Kyles Lao finally had the chance to strut his stuff for the NLEX Road Warriors, Friday evening.

The Road Warriors’ 29th overall pick in the 2018 Draft finally got the chance to suit up for his team for the first time this season, when NLEX took on the league-leading Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Lao then made a good account of himself, maximizing the 16 minutes he graced the hardwood. He produced eight points, six assists, and a rebound, while coming off the bench for an NLEX team reeling from the loss of Kevin Alas.

“I played well, yes. Masaya naman ako sa performance. Nagulat ako; ang tagal ko nang hindi nakakakuha ng ganitong minutesm maski nung college ako.

“I’m happy with that. I’m super thankful to coach Yeng [Guiao],” expressed the 23-year-old product of UP.

His debut didn’t have an ideal end, however. The Road Warriors bowed to the Fuel Masters, 82-83, no thanks to a clutch block by Calvin Abueva on Bong Galanza’s potential game-winning three-pointer in the dying seconds.

“Siyempre, I would’ve loved it if yung debut game ko ended up with a win, kaso yun nga,” lamented Lao, a 6-foot guard. “Basketball’s a team game naman.

Although we play as individuals, the end result… It’s always going to be team first.”

With his first game in the books, the former UAAP Rookie of the Year now looks to improve further so he can help the Road Warriors, who have dropped to ninth place with a 2-4 record.

“At the end of the day, it’s constant improvement naman. It’s not the end na isang magandang laro lang. Sana magtuloy-tuloy.”

One of the things he will work on is adjusting to the league’s style of play, since he admitted had taken its toll on him versus the lengthy Fuel Masters, who still sit atop the rankings with a clean 5-0 slate.

“Kaya naman eh kaso yung endurance, kung tatagal ka ba. I mean, nung una kaya ko pa, pero as the game went by, yung bungguan, yung physicality… It takes a toll on you. Marami pang bigas na kakainin.”

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Written By

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


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