YENG Guiao still likes the chances of NLEX advancing to the semifinals of the PBA Governors Cup despite suffering a 93-79 loss to the gritty Alaska Aces at the start of the quarterfinals on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Road Warriors mentor finds confidence in the thought that his team has another shot at advancing deep into the playoffs should they get back at the Aces in their sudden-death game scheduled on Saturday.
As the second-seeded team, NLEX owns a twice-to-beat advantage against No. 7 Alaska.
“I still feel good about getting to the semis,” said Guiao, hardly a tinge of worry in his voice after the loss against the Aces.
Besides, the Road Warriors had been in this familiar situation before, and Guiao knows his team has already learned its lesson the hard way.
Ghost of 2019 haunts NLEX
“I know we’ve been here before and we don’t want a repetition of that bad experience we had two or three years ago. So we will be working hard in practice tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday, so we’ll get back here on Saturday and try to get to the semifinals,” said Guiao.
The coach was obviously referring to the 2019 Governors’ Cup quarterfinals where NLEX was seeded No. 1 but was twice beaten in the playoffs by No. 8 NorthPort.
For NLEX not to go through the same agony, Guiao pointed to two factors the Road Warriors need to work on against Alaska – three-point shooting and rebounding.
The Road Warriors shot a paltry 8.7 percent from three-point range (2-of-23), compared to the Aces’ high 40 percent shooting (12-of-30).
They were likewise outworked off the boards, 63-47.
“To me, looking at the stats, it’s three-point shooting and rebounding,” said Guiao of the difference-maker in Alaska living for another day in its final PBA season.
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