LIKE returning from a long vacation, it’s back to reality for NLEX as it resumes its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign after the All-Star break, taking on Blackwater on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
No team is dragging itself back to work more than NLEX, which is still in search of an elusive first victory after starting seven successive losses in the midseason conference – and 10 straight dating back to the Philippine Cup.
The Road Warriors have already started to make some moves by acquiring Rabeh Al-Hussaini in a trade and Juami Tiongson from the free-agent market, but the team is far from done in its rebuilding process, said coach Yeng Guiao.
“We are looking at the individual players and the system that we have employed and we're just looking at ways to improve the team,” NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said. “Definitely, we have to shake it up and there is no justification to keep the team as it is.”
But unlike before, the outspoken coach admitted they have to take a more aggressive approach.
“Medyo nag-hohold back kami with transactions before pero ngayon, we need to be more aggressive and initiate instead of just waiting for offers,” Guiao said.
Only one asset is untouchable: the Road Warriors’ coveted first-round pick in the next rookie draft.
“Sacred yung first-round pick namin,” Guiao stressed. “Yun na nga lang yung consolation namin dito. We will not touch it or give it up, but aside from that, anything is possible.”
“Our options are wide open,” he added. “We have some ideas to improve the team pero so far hindi naman puwedeng i-divulge yung mga details.”
The Road Warriors take the court at 4:15 p.m. against a fellow hapless, struggling squad in the Elite, who have won just once in seven outings this conference after being ravaged by injuries.
Young star forwards Mac Belo and Art dela Cruz have been sidelined, apart from center Poy Erram, who, however, is on the mend.
Two teams that have better fortunes – Meralco and Phoenix – face off in the main game at 7 o’clock.
The Bolts are running second behind San Miguel Beer, having won six of their first seven games, while the Fuel Masters are eager to start a win streak following a statement 94-86 win over perennial contender Alaska, and are looking to improve their 3-4 win-loss record.