Coming into the semifinals, Coach Yeng Guiao would be the first to admit that the NLEX Road Warriors are on a freeroll of a lifetime. For him, no one expected them to make it this far, but now that they are here, they should just enjoy the ride.
“We are on an adventure. Let’s see how far we can go,” he said prior to the series.
The Road Warriors were able to take Game 1 last Sunday, 88-87, to extend their run to seven wins in eight games. But just like a roller-coaster ride, the Road Warriors experienced a downswing two days later, suffering an 84-99 loss to even the series.
After the game, the usually-fiery tactician was in a light mood, sharing that the energy slump was expected.
“Well, I just feel that even if we lost, I don’t feel that badly about it.
“I guess winning seven out of our last eight before this game takes a toll on you. It’s human nature that you’ll probably going to be relaxed a little bit. We’re not as sharp as we needed to be,” shared the seven-time champion coach.
“On the other hand, I guess on the other side, ‘yung pagkawala ni [Marc] Pingris just added motivation, ‘no, for this game for them. So, ganoon talaga. It’s just 1-1. But uh, I’m sure we can play better in our next game,” added Guiao, who has been coaching since 1990.
“I guess the law of averages is going to catch up on you one of these days.”
With the loss, Guiao expects the Road Warriors to play as loose as they did in Game One for Game Three.
“It’s also some kind of pressure release, and we can probably play a little bit more loosely in our next game. ‘Yun ang importante na mas loose kami ng kaunti, ano.”
As he sees it, Magnolia do not have the same advantage as they do. With a bigger rotation and more personnel now compared to the Hotshots, Guiao believes that he has the edge as the series progresses.
“We expect this to be a long series. I hope we can keep prolonging it, because I feel that the longer the series goes, the bigger our advantage should be.
“Alam ko naman na the absence of Ping is going to put a lot of pressure or prolong the minutes of Ian [Sangalang] and their other bigs, so if we can play more games, maybe that can have an effect towards the end of the series. The same thing with Paul [Lee], ‘no. We’ll just keep putting on the pressure and see if that will have an effect in the series,” the second year NLEX head coach declared.