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Nowhere to go but up for NLEX after Govs’ Cup semis finish, says Yeng Guiao


NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao could only wish for a better fight against Barangay Ginebra following the end of their PBA Governors’ Cup campaign.

The Road Warriors failed to replicate their success from two nights ago. Instead, they found themselves blown out by a vengeful Gin Kings, 112-93, in the semis’ Game 4 Wednesday.

“I wish we could’ve given them a better fight,” lamented the outspoken mentor moments after the match at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Nonetheless, Guiao is proud of how NLEX’s campaign went. He feels happy with the way his crew achieved a semis finish. This, despite what he called the ‘bad breaks’ that came their way in the season-ending conference, mainly manpower woes.

Besides the expected departure of KJ McDaniels, the club also had to deal with numerous injuries into the season resumption, particularly to rookie Calfin Oftana, Tony Semerad, and then Matt Nieto just last game.

It also didn’t help that the veteran coach lost one his trustees in Jericho Cruz to free agency, as the two-way winger signed with San Miguel Beer.

“Overall, we’re happy with our semifinal finish. It’s been a long time since we made it to the semifinals,” said Guiao as the MVP-owned ball club qualified in the semis for the first time since the 2018 Philippine Cup.

“We ran into some bad breaks – KJ had to go home, we lost Jericho, we lost Tony Semerad and Calvin. The good thing nakabalik si Tony, but dito na sa playoffs na. We lost Matt. In spite of that, we feel we had a good series.”

Guiao and Co. are now moving on, with their sights set on the 2022 Philippine Cup with the aim of becoming a consistent semis team.

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“We will come back stronger in the All-Filipino,” he vowed. “Alam na namin papano makarating ng semis. So I guess in the All-Filipino, we won’t be happy. We won’t be satisfied by anything less than a semis.

“Kailangan tumaas naman ‘yung standards namin. That’s what we’re preparing for now. This conference is over, we look forward to the next conference.”

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The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

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


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