NLEX is looking to build on the momentum it gained in the last PBA Commissioner’s Cup as it hopes to end the season with a bang by tapping a high-scoring import and an effective Asian reinforcement at the backcourt for its Governors Cup campaign.
Coach Boyet Fernandez already has a short list of possible choices, according to team manager Ronald Dulatre, who have big shoes to fill in following the impressive showing left behind by NBA veteran Al Thornton.
“Kailangan namin yung iiwanan ni Al na kung puwedeng maglaro ng 3, 4 or 5,” Dulatre told Spin.ph.
“Although medyo konti lang yung ganun (who play multiple positions), may candidates na din si coach Boyet na ipe-present by next week,” he added.
Thornton, the former Los Angeles Clippers forward, averaged 30.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists for the Road Warriors during the mid-season conference.
NLEX finished a surprising fourth at the end of the eliminations with the 6-foot-7 Thornton leading the way, compiling an aggregate 6-7 win-loss ledger.
The team registered five straight wins towards the tailend of the tournament to enter the playoffs as the fourth seed.
However, NLEX got swept by Meralco in the quarterfinals, 2-0, including an overtime loss in Game Two which saw the Road Warriors fail to protect a 20-point third quarter lead.
But following another playoff experience earned by the team, Dulatre believes the Road Warriors will be in a better position to contend for the title in the season-ending tournament should they could get a solid point guard as Asian reinforcement.
Veteran guard Jonas Villanueva has transitioned to the two-guard spot this season, leaving Rudy Lingganay and seldom-used Pamboy Raymundo to take care of the point guard chores.
“Ang tinitingnan lang namin is who will be the best player that will fit sa system ni coach Boyet. Pero ngayon, kailangan lang namin ng solid point guard kasi si Jonas, mas solid sa two-guard, mas comfortable siya dun,” he added.