NLEX starting to build character after just weeks under fiery coach Yeng Guiao
The NLEX Road Warriors celebrate the tune-up win over Meralco. Ron Tolin

CEBU CITY – Though he admits that NLEX is still a work in progress, head coach Yeng Guiao is appreciative of the team’s show of “character” in its championship game against sister team Meralco Bolts in the Recoletos Invitational Cup.

The Road Warriors found themselves reeling long before the game even started as they got stuck in Cebu’s notorious Friday traffic and arrived late to the arena.

Playing tight and seemingly out-of-sorts, NLEX found itself trailing by as much as 20 and was still behind by 16, 27-43, at halftime.

The Road Warriors, however, overcame that deficit and survived a miraculous three-pointer by the Bolts’ Baser Amer at the buzzer in regulation to prevail, 98-94, in overtime.

“It makes me very happy that the team is showing character very early in the process,” said Guiao, who was tasked to take over the squad just last month after a successful stint with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters studded with two championships.

[See Guiao says 'smart, versatile' Garvo Lanete tailor-made for his system]

He added that the three-day pocket tournament will serve them well heading to a new PBA season where they expect to encounter their fair share of adversity.

“Our biggest take away in this pocket tournament is that in the face of adversity, we stayed focused and under control,” surmised Guiao.

More than anything, Guiao said that he and the rest of his team appreciated being able to give the Cebuanos who packed the USJ-R Coliseum, a good show.

“We relish the fact that we gave the Cebuanos an enjoyable game.”

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