MACAU – YENG Guiao is confident NLEX can still advance to the crossover semifinals of the Asia League Super 8 2018 even after losing to Korean side ETLand Elephants, 75-60, on Wednesday.
“We still have a chance. We’ll try to go for that,” he said as the 1-1 Road Warriors meet the CBA club Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers on Thursday, with the winner progressing to the next round.
Guiao, though, would like to believe that the Road Warriors have learned their lessons from this defeat.
The mercurial mentor rued his side’s inability to sustain their intensity in the defeat as their Korean foes cashed in on their long bombs in the second half.
“For two-and-a-half quarters, we were defending them well. Actually, yung first half namin, nagagandahan nga kami kasi nakasabay naman kami,” he observed. NLEX trailed by only two, 32-30 at halftime and limited ETLand to just 25-percent field goal shooting in the first two quarters.
However, the floodgates opened for the Elephants after the break, raining treys on the Road Warriors as they made 15 of their 36 three-point shots on the way to the 15-point win.
“Pumutok yung tres nila nung end of third and into the fourth eh. Typical Korean system, typical Korean style,” Guiao said.
“When you play a team like this, it's really defending the threes that becomes a problem. They shot almost 42-percent from threes. Their three-point shooting percentage is a lot better than their two-point shooting. Plus, there are no illegal screens almost. Their screens were moving and when screens are moving and you try to catch a three-point shot, it becomes doubly difficult.”
After two playdates, Guiao is hoping that the message is now clear to the players: that there's no room for error in such a short tournament.
“It's really being able to adapt quickly and making the adjustment, which we were not able to do. Pagdating ng second half, it’s sustaining the energy and mentality, but that’s what we’re unable to do in this game. Kaya din sinasabi ko sa players na this league is good for us because we learn a lot of styles and systems and you also learn how to adapt quickly to the situation,” he said.
With those learnings in mind, Guiao is expecting a big bounce back from NLEX come Thursday, as he anticipates another tough game against the Chinese.
“They’re big and they’re fundamentally sound,” said Guiao of Xinjiang Guanghui, “But I think we have a chance if we make our outside shots and use our quickness. We have a quickness advantage against them. It’s a pretty good proposition for tomorrow. We’ll try to get a win and make it to the next round.”