BOYET Fernandez took the blame for NLEX’s showing in its maiden PBA conference that saw the Road Warriors making a quick exit in the playoffs of the Philippine Cup.
The multi-titled coach admitted his late entry in the team made a big difference in its All-Filipino Cup campaign as Fernandez had to finish first his duty as head mentor of San Beda in the NCAA where he eventually led the Red Lions to their fifth consecutive title.
The Road Warriors finished 10th at the end of the eliminations and made the playoffs, but were ousted by third seed Alaska on Thursday following an 82-78 loss.
“I told the players and the management knows this, the performance in the first conference, I took the blame for everything because I started really late due to the fact that I’m concentrating on San Beda,” he said.
After winning seven titles with NLEX in the PBA D-League and two with San Beda, Fernandez suddenly found himself trying to turn things around for the Road Warriors in the pro league.
He firmly believed though that had he joined the Road Warriors earlier, it would be a different story.
“It’s a challenge for me. It’s a challenge to me to prove myself na kakayanin ko ‘yung PBA. It’s tough out here.
“But as I’ve stated, I’d probably really fortified the defensive and offensive schemes of the team if I had come in earlier. Medyo sabog pa ng konti,” said Fernandez, who actually owns a PBA championship as a coach after leading Sta. Lucia to a crown during the 2007-2008 Philippine Cup.
Following NLEX’s ouster, Fernandez said he saw a lot of positives in the team especially during the second half of its playoff game against the Aces that saw them come back from a 14-point deficit.
Fernandez hopes they would show that same effort next conference.
“We’ll take a lot of positives from the second half. The effort was there. We stuck to our game plan and execution. More importantly, we came back. Gagawin na lang namin itong positive to carry over in the second half,” he said.
“I think the first half was really a lost game for us. It was really bad but at least, we came back and played toe-to-toe with Alaska,” Fernandez added.