THE Dubai Invitational Basketball Championship would be a good opportunity for NLEX to bond as a team as it prepares for the coming PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Coach Boyet Fernandez said the Road Warriors are bound to get better in their Middle East campaign considering the tournament features tough club teams from Iran, Lebanon, and possibly Jordan.
“That (Dubai tournament) will be a good practice for us, a good preparation for the second conference kasi parang training camp na rin namin, dahil aside from the games, may practice din kami,” Fernandez told Spin.ph prior to the Road Warriors' departure for the United Arab Emirates for the 11-day tournament.
The Dubai cage tournament also gives former Los Angeles Clippers forward Al Thornton an opportunity to get familiar with his new teammates.
The 6-foot-7 Thornton arrived in Manila last Thursday to be NLEX’s import for the mid-season conference, but Fernandez said he isn’t rushing the former NBA veteran in order to give him time to adjust.
The one-time PBA champion coach said the team is looking forward to starting things right for the second conference, considering he failed to work with the Road Warriors before the start of the season due to his commitments with San Beda.
“Unang-una naming objective for taking the Dubai trip was for all the guys to know each other because when we started the first conference, ako di pa fully on board, kasi nagko-concentrate pa ako sa San Beda. Tapos yung iba naman mga rookies, and yung iba kahit na same as Air21 pero di naman talaga magkakilala,” shared Fernandez, who is hoping to duplicate his string of success with NLEX in the D-League.
“So we take this (Dubai trip) as an opportunity na magkakasama-sama kami. That’s why we have 29 people going, with coaches, all players including reserves kasi yun ang main objective naming,” he said
NLEX compiled a 4-8 win-loss record in its maiden conference in the league, good for 10th place in the Philippine Cup.