NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez is frustrated with the Road Warriors inconsistency as they failed to sustain the momentum of a big win.
Impressive in their victory over erstwhile unbeaten Ginebra last week, NLEX was suddenly sluggish in a defeat to sister team Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
[See Meralco Bolts on the road to recovery after dealing sister team NLEX a beating]
“We’re up and down, we’re inconsistent, but if we want to be successful, we have to be consistent in terms of offense and defense,” said Fernandez after emerging from the dugout.
Fernandez pointed out that the Road Warriors’ minds were not in the match, failing to follow their game plan from the outset.
NLEX was nowhere near its razor-sharp form that enabled the Road Warriors to pull off a gigantic 97-81 upset win over previously unbeaten Barangay Ginebra last week.
Now Fernandez notes that was pure luck.
“I always told my players that we’re just lucky we won against Ginebra,” Fernandez said.
We just have to work hard and improve, but from what we saw today, we’re not improving,” added the veteran coach who just last month steered the San Beda Red Lions to their fifth straight NCAA men’s basketball championship.
NLEX has an even win-loss record of 2-2, still in the middle of the pack, but Fernandez feels they should be in a better position if they did what they were supposed to.
But the Road Warriors turned the ball over 22 times, shot an abysmal 1-of-23 from three-point zone, while failing to get significant contribution on offense from veterans Macmac Cardona, Jonas Villanueva and Nino Canaleta.
Cardona, who dropped 25 points against Ginebra, finished with just 14 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Canaleta only had nine on 3-of-11 shooting, while the six-foot Villanueva went scoreless in 35 minutes.
“We started really flat in first quarter. We had no defense, the intensity was not there, and it’s really a bad game, sama ng laro eh, all the game plan was not followed in the first half,” he said.
The Road Warriors have two days to get their bearings back before going up against the San Miguel Beermen on Saturday in a road game in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.