DESPITE suffering back-to-back heartbreaking losses, MacMac Cardona was confident to guarantee NLEX will sweep its final two games in the eliminations and book a seat in the playoffs of the PBA Philippine Cup.
Cardona made the assurance shortly after the Road Warriors threw away a seven-point lead in the final three minutes of their match against league leader Alaska Aces to lose, 90-84, on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The setback came three days after NLEX likewise blew seven-point lead against Rain or Shine as gunner Paul Lee took charge in the final period to help the Elasto Painters pull off a 95-93 come-from-behind win.
But the Road Warriors had learned their lessons out of it that Cardona believes NLEX will emerge a better team following the two losses.
“Pero siguro yung last two games, mananalo kami dun. I guarantee you that, kasi marami kaming natutunan sa last two games naming, so make-carry namin yan sa last two games namin,” vowed Cardona, whose double-double output of 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds couldn’t prevent the Road Warriors from absorbing their sixth loss in nine outings for a tie with Barako Bull at the bottom half of the standings.
Cardona said even if the team boasts of a slew of veterans in Asi Taulava, Jonas Villanueva, Enrico Villanueva, Nino Canaleta, and Mark Borboran, chemistry remains an issue for the Road Warriors owing to the presence of several rookies and sophomore they have to work with.
“Siguro di pa kami ganun kasanay sa endgame. Di namin alam kung paano manalo sa endgame kaya natututo pa lang kami ngayon,kasi mga six months pa lang kami magkakasama di tulad ng Rain or Shine at Alaska na matatagal na magkasama,” he added.
NLEX can officially nail a playoff berth if it beats Barako Bull next Tuesday.
A victory would also knockout expansion team KIA Motors (1-8) out of the playoff picture.