NLEX is so used to winning that the first order of business shortly after it lost the Foundation Cup title to Blackwater Sports was to plot ways to rekindle its championship tradition in the next conference.
“It hurts siyempre, gusto mong bumangon agad. It will be a motivation for us,” said coach Boyet Fernandez as he tried to gather his thoughts after the Road Warriors’ stunning 0-2 sweep at the hands of the heavy underdogs Elite during the Finals.
The Road Warriors vowed to be stronger in the coming season even though several key players including big man Greg Slaughter are expected to join the PBA rookie draft.
“I told the players to remember the shouting and the laughing of Blackwater because in the last four conferences, we were them. Now, we are on the other side of the fence,” said Fernandez.
Poor shooting in Blackwater Sports’ title-clinching 80-74 win in Game Two on Tuesday did NLEX in as the franchise saw its dynasty finally toppled after winning the first four conferences of the league.
Fernandez noted how the Road Warriors struggled against the Elite’s zone defense as they only made two of their 19 three-point shots.
“They (Elite) gambled with the zone in the third all the way to the fourth, but we kept missing our shots,” said Fernandez. “We were just 10 percent from the three-point distance.”
“We were ready for the zone and their defense pero hindi sa amin ‘yung ring,” he said.
Fernandez admitted the end to the Road Warriors’ long championship run hurts.
“There will always come a time that the streak will be over. Right now, our streak is over and it’s a learning experience for us and for the coaches,” he said.