NLEX has yet to shake off a championship hangover when it absorbed an opening-day loss to Big Chill, but coach Boyet Fernandez expects the Road Warriors to be on the road to recovery soon.
“We still played on vacation mode. Big Chill did a good job against us,” Fernandez admitted after their 77-86 overtime loss to Big Chill on Tuesday at the start of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
Fernandez, who praised Big Chill for coming to the game well prepared, said his team put up a gallant performance considering it returned to practice only last Saturday after winning the Aspirants Cup two weeks ago.
“I still credit the boys for what they did even though we were coming off a two-week break,” said Fernandez. “They came back to practice last Saturday and played like this. I credit them for this game."
NLEX has time to bounce back as the Road Warriors won’t see action until March 21 against Cebuana Lhuillier.
“It’s a learning experience for us and hopefully, we can come back and move forward,” Fernandez said.
NLEX also didn’t have a complete lineup, with big men Greg Slaughter and Ian Sangalang out.
Slaughter is still recovering from a shoulder injury, while Sangalang, the Aspirants Cup’s Best Player of the Conference, has yet to play after being caught in a tug-of-war NLEX between EA Regen Med Group of former Lubao Mayor Dennis Pineda.
“Losing a 6-foot-7 (player) and a seven-footer, it’s really a big loss for the team,” Fernandez said. With reports from Mei-Lin Lozada